Mass Cultural Consumption = Mass Creative Output

Using the Internet as a tool, more and more consumers are engaging in culture consumption, broadening their knowledge horizons and then using that experience and knowledge to contribute their own creative expressions and deposit those right back into our culture for further consumer consumption. According to a recent article in Ad Age:"For years, marketers viewed the cultural consumer as an elite market segment, estimated to represent 2% of the overall population. As we witness a maturing knowledge economy, it's become evident that we must enlarge our view of who's consuming cultural experiences and how often. To benefit from the coming era, smart CMOs need to see that American consumers aspire to be viewed as thinking, expressive human beings...Consider these facts:

  • The typical adult attends an average of 1.9 cultural events per month.
  • 68% of the American public is interested in independent films.
  • Gen Y-ers (those ages 18 to 29) attend an average of 2.3 cultural events per month.
  • More Americans visit museums, historical sites, zoos and aquariums than attend all professional sports events combined, including auto racing.
  • In 2006, 65% of households ranked "avid book reading" as their No. 1 at home leisure activity, according to the Standard Rate and Data Service."

(Then again, according to a recent article in The New Yorker titled The Twilight of Books, you might not believe consumers are more culturally inclined and reading literature "...if you consulted the Census Bureau and the National Endowment for the Arts, who, since 1982, have asked thousands of Americans questions about reading that are not only detailed but consistent. The results, first reported by the N.E.A. in 2004, are dispiriting. In 1982, 56.9 per cent of Americans had read a work of creative literature in the previous twelve months. The proportion fell to fifty-four per cent in 1992, and to 46.7 per cent in 2002. Last month, the N.E.A. released a follow-up report, To Read or Not to Read, which showed correlations between the decline of reading and social phenomena as diverse as income disparity, exercise, and voting. In his introduction, the N.E.A. chairman, Dana Gioia, wrote, 'Poor reading skills correlate heavily with lack of employment, lower wages, and fewer opportunities for advancement.'")If your target is an avid Internet user, they are more likely than not consuming cultural experiences frequently. And, as that Ad Age article notes, "Knowledge is power. Ideas are the killer app. Learning is the new status skill. This is an enlightened age, and culture consumers revere brands that teach them new things without pontificating." What can brands do to feed that consumer hunger for cultural and knowledge?