‘Meaningful brands’ perform better financially, says report

“Meaningful brands” that contribute to consumers’ health and wellbeing perform better financially than other brands, according to research.

Google
Google named top ‘meaningful brand’ globally.

Share prices of the top 25 companies on Havas Media’s Meaningful Brands Index (BMI) have increased faster than companies who are not seen as being meaningful by consumers, according to the annual Meaningful Brands report by Havas Media Group.

The report found, however, only 20 per cent of brands globally make a “significant, positive” difference to people’s wellbeing with brands in Europe (5 per cent) and the US (9 per cent) lagging being emerging markets such as Asia (39 per cent) and Latin America (27 per cent).

In the UK, 70 per cent of consumers believe brands and companies should play a role in improving quality of life, but only 24 per cent believe they are working hard to do so.

A third of consumers in the UK trust brands but this rises to 54 per cent for brands that are socially and environmentally responsible. Another 32 per cent of consumers frequently consider the impact a brand has on people’s wellbeing when they make a purchase.

Worryingly though, the report also found 93 per cent of European consumers wouldn’t care if brands disappeared and claims being a meaningful brand is an “antidote” to this apathy.

Retail, consumer goods and food and drink brands are seen to be the top performing three sectors in the UK while globally consumer technology firms replace FMCG brands in the top three.

Globally, half of the top 10 ranked brands are technology brands, led by Google then Samsung. In the UK the top 10 is dominated by supermarket and retail brands including Asda and Sainsbury’s.

Google, meanwhile, has attracted criticism for its tax practices in the UK, and is also under fire ver accusations it allows the US Government access to private user data.

Kate Cox, head of strategy, Havas Media UK, “The Meaningful Brands project is about re-connecting business with real human needs. The UK in particular has become accustomed to the view that most businesses act to pursue short term profits at the expense of wider societal and human requirements. This generalised view has been exacerbated by the recent scandals such as mis-selling in the finance industry, the tax status of multinational firms and supply chain issues in the grocery trade.

“We want businesses to step up and fight this perception issue by delivering goods and services that drive human wellbeing – for customers, share-holders and employees. It is great to see venerable British companies such as Clarks shoes crowned as our most meaningful brands – companies that have weathered short term trading issues but still remain in pride of place in British Culture.”

The Meaningful Brand Index aims to measure the benefit brands bring to consumers’ lives by measuring their impact on 12 areas such as health, happiness, financial, relationships and community wellbeing.

The project sampled over 100,000 consumers across 23 countries about more than 700 brands in 12 industries. In the UK the research sampled 9,939 consumers about 72 brands across 9 industries.

Top 10 UK brands

Clarks
M&S
Asda
Sainsbury’s
John Lewis
Argos
Ikea
Morrisons
Tesco
Penguin

Top 10 meaningful brands globally

Google
Samsung
Microsoft
Nestle
Sony
Ikea
Dove
Nike
Walmart
Danone
Philips
P&G

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