And companies such as Douglas Holt's Cultural Strategy Group are there on hand to help in this pursuit.
This is all good stuff, particularly if it raises brands above the banality of the "which-scent-of floor-cleaner-best-suits-your-personality" Facebook app syndrome, of which I'm sure we've all had more than enough.
But the challenge to us all is how to find and nail down the thing - if it can be nailed down. Often you only know when you've caught the Zeitgeist years later. Like the Will O'the Wisp or ignis fatuus, our friend is somewhat elusive.
One of the first ads I worked on was the famous British Airways "Club World" launch ad, affectionately known as "Red Eye". With its Wall Street-esque characters and Machiavellian mini-plot, this was 60 seconds (I think...) of pure late 80s Big Business.
And, as far as I know, the "cultural insight" certainly didn't come from some huge mega-quantitative Übertrends to the New Millenium study, but from a few chats with business travellers and a sensitivity and empathy to what was going on culturally in their world.