New Relevance Research changes the way we brand finance

New Brodeur Partners research answers the age-old question and more

"People think more about Money than Sex"It’s settled. Americans think more about money than sex.

(Well maybe not you, but Americans on average, regardless of age.)

This is just one of the insights from Brodeur Partners ’ latest research series on relevance . The report, “Money and Investing,”1 examines the importance of money in peoples’ lives, how they think about money, and what factors influence their selection of financial institutions.

Among the findings:

·         We think about money and finances nearly twice as much as “sex and love life.”

·         2 out of 3 Americans feel a “moral obligation” to manage their investments responsibly.

·         Most Americans (55 percent) say it’s more important to retire comfortably than to leave an inheritance.

Our findings, as well as other data, suggest that money matters a lot more to people these days than we’ve suspected,” said Brodeur Managing Director of Strategic Planning Jerry Johnson, who led the research. “The good news is that many Americans feel good stewardship of their money is a moral obligation. The more unsettling news is that we’re much more interested in retiring comfortably than we are leaving money behind for our children and grandchildren.”

Breaking it down

In the research, Brodeur asked 600 Americans how often they thought about a range of subjects.

Money came in right on the heels of loved ones with 69 percent of survey respondents saying they think about money either “most or all of the time.” Nearly 30 points behind, sex and love life edged out politics with 40 percent thinking about it all or most of the time.

Beyond sex vs. money

Other questions in the new research explored consumers’ feelings around money, as well as the triggers for choosing one financial services partner over another. “There’s a lot insight on how often Americans think about money, what exactly they think about money, and how they act on those beliefs when choosing a financial services firm,” said Brodeur Partners CEO Andrea Coville, author of Relevance: The Power to Change Minds and Behavior and Stay Ahead of the Competition .

Brodeur Partners bases its research on its theory of relevance, which holds that behavior change generally requires connecting with a person through four relevance pathways: sensations, values, community impulses and logical thinking. Brodeur has documented an overreliance on logic that causes many communications initiatives to miss the mark.

What we are learning and helping our clients adjust to,” says Coville, “is what we call situational relevance. Great brands and concepts are built on things that have lasting meaning to human beings. However, there are bubbles, or situations like what we have gone through with our economy, that can create temporary changes in people’s preoccupations. These surveys give us sense of those subtle shifts and we can add them to relevance mix.”


The Brodeur Partners relevance study was conducted over two weeks in January and February 2015 and was based on 600 interviews (n=600) drawn from Toluna’s national QuickSurvey panel. Survey results were weighted based on U.S. Census data to reflect the exact demographic profile of gender, age and region of the national population.

About Brodeur Partners

Brodeur Partners is a strategic communications company that helps organizations become and remain relevant in a complicated world. Headquartered in Boston, the company has five U.S. offices and operates in 33 countries globally. It is differentiated by its focus on relevance, behavioral change and ability to bring a discipline-agnostic approach to its non-profit, consumer and business-to-business clients.