Consumers are hungry to live their passions, and brands that can satisfy that appetite will reap the rewards, according to new research from Ogilvy & Mather, TNS and Google, which concludes that marketers will increasingly need to keep their focus firmly on their brand's core and how it relates to their consumers' passions.

According to this new research, consumers are choosing to engage only with content that is personally relevant to them, their purpose and their passions.

“Brand advertising has traditionally concerned itself with touching the hearts of audiences or tickling their funny bones,” say the study authors. “Advertising used that emotional—often entertaining—connection to bond consumers to the brands they grew to love, with the courtship carefully scheduled around television seasons, divided by the time of day and dependent on broadcast media consumption.

“But today, digital platforms and social networks have changed the relationship between brands and consumers.”

Over a span of six months, in two different waves, Ogilvy, TNS and Google surveyed 2,458 recent purchasers of products in three categories—auto vehicles, beauty products and smartphones—and found that “Generation C” (for Connected) consumers are looking much more substantially for media to match the purpose with which they lead their lives.

Consumers choose the brands that engage them on their passions and interests 42 percent more often than they do those that simply urge them to buy the product being advertised.

The research identified different reasons that consumers go online. Some primarily seek entertainment, while others look, first and foremost, to connect. A third and fast-growing motivation for consumers to go online is to seek information on passions and interests. These consumers seek to enrich themselves and explore their interests so they can build and pursue their passions.

For brands, these consumers are better customers (they are 70 percent more likely to have purchased something online in the past month versus consumers driven by entertainment or connection) and word-of-mouth engines (1.6 times more likely to rate a product or service online at least once a week).