People would not care if 77% of brands disappeared. However, more than three-quarters (76%) of consumers expect brands to contribute to their quality of life and well-being, according to a new report on meaningful brands from Havas.
What exactly is meant by “meaningful brand”? Havas believes that the meaningfulness of a brand is determined by its impact on the consumer’s personal and collective wellbeing, along with its functional benefits. As such, the Meaningful Brand Index has two variables: brand KPIs (overall impression, advocacy, purchase/repurchase intents) and performance on meaningful brand attributes of functional, personal and collective benefits.
Google tops the 2019 list of the 30 most meaningful brands with an Index score of 74.6. Google is one of a few tech brands on the list, including WhatsApp (#4; 71.7), YouTube (#5; 71.2) and Microsoft (#9; 70.8). Other brands include consumer goods brands such as Johnson & Johnson, Gillette and Danone.
The most meaningful industries differ depending on the region. For instance, in North America, consumer goods is the most meaningful industry. It’s an industry that continues to grow, especially online with e-commerce CPG sales increasing by more than one-third (36%) in 2018. Ranking second and third on North America’s most meaningful industries are Food and Entertainment.
By contrast, Western Europe’s top three industries are Retail, Electronics and Food. Even more diverse is Southeast Asia, whose top three include Transport, Internet and Media, and Travel and Tourism.
Traditional Brands Outnumber Tech Brands in Meaningfulness
While four of the top five meaningful brands are technology-based, the majority (24 out of 30) of the most meaningful brands are more of a traditional variety. So, while tech brands like Google, Paypal and Microsoft are powerful brands, older brands like Mercedes-Benz, Johnson & Johnson and Disney are continuing to perform in ways that make them meaningful.
Notably, although nearly all of the brands in the Top 30 are well-known in the US, fourth-ranked WhatsApp is one that has witnessed less popularity in the US than in other countries. In fact, WhatsApp’s adoption in the US is far less than that in Europe. Additionally, while a large number of consumers in some countries use WhatsApp for news, very few Americans use it for that purpose.
Consumers Reward Companies Making a Positive Impact on the Future
Consumers aren’t just interested in the product or service a company has to offer, per the report. Instead, Havas’ research found that more than half (55%) of consumers feel that brands have a more important role than governments in creating a better future. The idea (perhaps not always reflected in practice) is that consumers are willing to use the power of their dollar to reward brands that reflect their values and are active in improving the future.
This same mindset is reflected in prior research where nearly 9 in 10 of US adults revealed that they would buy from a purpose-driven company, that being one not only committed to making money but also to making an impact on the future.
To read more, check out the report’s findings here.
About the Data: Data for this report was comprised of information from more than 350,000 consumers and more than 1,800 brands in 31 markets and 22 industries.