CORAL GABLES, Fla., Nov. 23, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- As the holiday season approaches, BACARDI, the best-selling premium rum and the most-awarded rum in the world, today unveils a pioneering research study called the BACARDI Together Index.
The BACARDI Together Index uses an unprecedented 146 questions from a national survey of 5,000 American adults, aged 21 to 80+ years, to understand and summarize the dimensions of social connectedness. The large sample and volume of questions allows for a comprehensive evaluation of social connections in a way never before done.
BACARDI, throughout its history, has held a long-standing belief that the importance of spending time with friends and family is the key to our overall feelings of happiness and well-being. This index is a grand summation of the effort by BACARDI to get people thinking about how they prioritize their time and how social life affects general well-being.
Key findings of the BACARDI Together Index are as follows:
"Social media togetherness" is not the same as "in-person togetherness." Social media togetherness is quicker and less emotionally meaningful amongst respondents.
64 percent of respondents believe being together with family and friends is important, more so than getting a raise (51 percent), having a career (47 percent), and having the best of everything (30 percent).
"Being together" is closely associated with general well-being, as 84 percent of those with high togetherness also have high well-being.
The holiday season is the kind of occasion that is most likely to encourage people to get together. Significant events like birthdays, the 4th of July and Mother's/Father's Day are also big. All these occasions inspire the greatest level of connectedness to others, with at least 57 percent of people feeling highly connected during these times.
At least 59 percent of respondents cite that togetherness has many benefits including: the fun times enjoyed together, being part of a friendship group, makes time more meaningful, and takes your mind off problems.
The primary factors that prevent togetherness are: lack of money (58 percent), lack of friends (43 percent), geographic distance from friends and family (40 percent), and finding the time to be with others (50 percent).
Across the country, and looking at the areas where people live within the regions, those who live in cities (47 percent) or just outside a city (44 percent) appear to have more physical and emotional togetherness versus those living in the suburbs (38 percent) or rural areas (31 percent).
VIRTUAL VS. FACE-TO-FACE TOGETHERNESS
BACARDI believes in the joy of face-to-face connections and that humans are meant to socialize and are actually enhanced as individuals when they feel 'together'. Social media allows humans to socialize, which in many cases has led to an increase in one-on-one time with others. While "social media togetherness" has proven to be a positive way to connect with other people, social media togetherness is quicker and less emotionally meaningful amongst respondents.
Ben Mezrich, author of The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal (recently adapted into major motion picture, 'The Social Network') said, "What I've learned from examining the lives of the founders of Facebook is that nothing replaces the human spark that generates human connections. In fact, it was that human spark that led to the birth of Facebook, and it is that spark that fuels the essence of true human connection. As the lives of Americans become busier and faster, sometimes it helps to just take a step back and analyze how truly connected we feel."
THE AMERICAN PURSUIT OF WELL-BEING AND HAPPINESS
The BACARDI Together Index delves into the specific importance of physical and emotional connections and compares the weight of those connections with the level assigned to other things in life. Perhaps not so surprisingly, the single most important issue to Americans is their well-being. Eighty-five percent of respondents say that being a sense of well-being is very important to them. Beyond well-being, the survey shows that Americans place high value on being connected with others.
The following were cited as important to the respondents:
77 percent: "being together with family"
77 percent of people who say they feel 'together' also say that they are very happy
73 percent: "having close, meaningful relationships"
73 percent of those that are more socially engaged say they have very warm feelings toward almost everyone, while only 56 percent of less socially engaged people agree
70 percent: "family gathering together for special occasions"
68 percent: "staying in touch with others"
62 percent say that having friends that are like family and being together with friends is important
CITY MOUSE VS. COUNTRY MOUSE
Across the country, and looking at the areas where people live within the regions, those who live in cities or just outside a city appear to have more physical and emotional togetherness.
Almost half (47 percent) of those living in the city and 44 percent of those just outside a city score in the highest range of the BACARDI Together Index, compared to those living in the suburbs (37 percent) or rural areas (31 percent), deflating the notion of closed-door cities and friendly countrified areas.
In fact, the most surprising figure may be that the city that is the most 'together' is Los Angeles at 49 percent with NYC a close second at 47.8 percent, while other more 'friendly to visit' cities such as Chicago (41.7 percent), Minneapolis (36.8 percent), Boston (36.4 percent) and Denver (31.5 percent) say they are less together.
Perhaps those who live in cities or just outside cities are more together because of the activities they choose to engage in with others? Those in the city or just outside the city tend to spend more time engaged across a variety of activities:
Activity In City Outside City Suburb Rural
Shopping 44% 45% 33% 32%
Drinking cocktails 28 29 20 18
Discussing personal life events 51 45 42 40
Going to movies/concert 27 25 14 10
Attending Happy Hour 20 16 8 6
Going to bars/night clubs 21 18 10 7
Attending dinner parties 16 15 8 5
Dr. Ken Dautrich, senior consultant to The Pert Group, Lead Researcher of the BACARDI Together Index, said, "We were surprised to find that people living in the suburbs are less connected than those in the city who lead very full lives amongst the hustle and bustle. The fact that so many Americans who we typically associate as being more together actually aren't goes against the perceived norm. In such changing times, people in the suburbs should get together for the sake of their happiness and well-being"
TOGETHER AT THANKSGIVING
Thanksgiving is one of two occasions during the year when Americans say they enjoy the bond of togetherness.
77 percent are just as likely to get together for Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa.
76 percent say that they are very likely to get together with others on Thanksgiving.
Not only are Americans most likely to share the bonds of togetherness on Thanksgiving Day, but the physical and emotional connectedness that they feel with others on Thanksgiving is also very high – 76 percent - higher than any of the other national holidays, Mother's/Father's day or simply hanging out with friends, except for Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa which rates at 77 percent on the togetherness stakes.
Toby Whitmoyer, Vice President, Brand Managing Director, BACARDI Rums said, "The BACARDI Together Index highlights that although we are connecting, those connections aren't as meaningful as they could be. Connecting through the likes of social media is quicker and less emotional so we are actually feeling less together. It seems clear that having that time to get together with friends that are important to us is not only satisfying, but also a way to feel happier. We want to remind people that the holidays shouldn't be the only time of year that they get together with friends."
BACARDI hopes that as a result of the BACARDI Together Index, consumers will be reminded during the holidays of this feeling of happiness and continue to plan gatherings with friends and family beyond the festive season. For more information, as well as simple entertaining tips and recipes to further your "Together" moments with friends and family, whether during the Holiday season, or beyond, please visit www.facebook.com/BACARDI.