Brands are becoming increasingly irrelevant, delivering poor content and failing to improve consumers’ lives, according to shoppers across the UK and beyond.
In fact, 81% of brands sold across Europe could disappear and consumers would not care. This is one of the key findings of Havas Group’s Meaningful Brands 2019 report, which is based on 1,800 brands and 350,000 respondents across 31 countries.
Globally the figure is slightly lower, with consumers saying they would not care if 77% of everyday brands disappeared. However, compared to the last Meaningful Brands survey carried out in 2017, this number has increased by three percentage points over the intervening two years.
The research suggests brands’ failure to provide interesting and entertaining content, combined with their inability to improve consumers’ quality of life and wellbeing, is making them increasingly irrelevant.
Looking specifically at the UK, while 90% of the British population expect brands to provide content, 63% believe the content being created by brands in Britain is poor, irrelevant and fails to deliver.
The Meaningful Brands 2019 data reveals British consumers feel more dissatisfied with the content being provided by brands than global consumers, 58% of whom believe the world’s leading brands are providing poor and irrelevant content.
Of the British consumers surveyed, 61% say they want brands to provide content that is interesting, entertaining or offers useful experiences or services that stand apart from the brand’s usual services. This figure rises to 78% among millennials.
The survey, which links brand performance to quality of life and wellbeing, suggests that brands which are perceived to be meaningful and working to make the world a better place outperform the stock market by 134% and increase their share of wallet by nine times.
However, despite the fact 68% of the British population believe brands should play a role in improving their quality of life and wellbeing, only 33% believe brands are actually working hard to do so.
Looking at the global findings 55% of consumers says companies have a more important role than governments today in creating a better future, this figure drops to 46% among British consumers.
The survey also indicates the growing importance of being a purposeful brand, as half of British consumers say they prefer to buy from companies with a reputation for being focused on purpose rather than just profits. Among millennials this figure rises to 55%.
However, while 81% of the British population believe companies and brands should communicate honestly about their commitments and promises, only 33% think they are actually achieving this.
Looking at the top performing global brands, Google tops the list, followed by PayPal, Mercedes-Benz, WhatsApp, YouTube, Johnson & Johnson, Gillette, BMW, Microsoft and Danone.
Samsung, Nivea, Ikea and Lego have all dropped out of the global top 10 since 2017. While beauty giant Nivea has fallen from 7th to 12th, Samsung has dropped 11 places to 16, Ikea has fallen 14 places to 23 and Lego has dropped 20 places to 30.
Johnson & Johnson, Gillette, BMW and Danone are all new entrants to the 2019 global top 10 include. Johnson & Johnson’s rise into 6th place comes at a time of transformation for the FMCG giant, which said last summer it was rebranding its entire baby care portfolio in order to prioritise transparency over science.
Speaking to Marketing Week in June, Johnson & Johnson CMO Alison Lewis explained the brand was prepared to sacrifice its “sacred cows”, such as its iconic gold baby shampoo and pink lotion, in order to show parents it was committed to a transparent supply chain.
Gillette’s inclusion in the global top 10 comes after a challenging month following the release of its new US campaign evoking the #MeToo movement. The shaving brand came in for criticism over the ‘We Believe’ advert, which shows male bullying, harassment and ‘banter’ being counteracted by a progressive version of modern masculinity.