University of Manchester (UoM) sociologists have responded to escalating policy interest in the cultural and creative industries as generators of social and economic value; developing a more complex analysis of the significance of these sectors for understanding social inequality. Through a distinctive form of ‘cultural class analysis’ (CCA), three key impacts are generated. Firstly, co-producing the BBC ‘Great British Class Survey’ (GBCS) as a major public sociology intervention on understandings of ‘class’. Secondly, influencing new market research frameworks. Thirdly, applying CCA within the cultural sector, challenging policy understandings of how class inequalities are bound up with cultural participation. In a period of austerity and sharply increasing social, cultural and economic inequality, these impacts have successfully provoked renewed media and public engagement with issues of class division.