M&S, Unilever and Sainsbury’s are “most meaningful brands” in UK

Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s and Unilever contribute most to consumers’ individual and collective wellbeing in the UK, according to a new survey that aims to identify “meaningful” brands.

Unilever’s Cornetto brand

These brands were identified as the “most meaningful” as they “make a significant contribution to our lives and communities” and therefore are rewarded by greater consumer loyalty and attachment.

The Havas Media study, however, also found that a brand’s impact on “collective wellbeing” including community, society and environment, is considered less important by UK consumers than other markets.

UK consumers feel that only 5% of brands have a positive impact on our sense of wellbeing and quality of life, well below the global average of 20%, and most people in the UK would not care if 91% of brands ceased to exist.

The media owner suggests that this offers brands in the UK a huge opportunity to increase the impact of their brand by better communicating their long-term CSR objectives.

The Meaningful Brands Index aims to “connect quality of life and wellbeing to brands” and claims the study is the first of its kind to offer a new framework to measure and build brand value “in the context of today’s demanding environment”.

It measured the perceived impact of brands on personal wellbeing such as fitness, health, self esteem, happiness, values, intelligence and satisfaction as well as collective wellbeing such as how brands help improve communities, societies and the environment.

Kate Cox, head of strategy at Havas Media’s MPG Media Contacts UK, says: “Whilst global comparisons with the UK about the role of brands and businesses to positively impact individuals, communities and the environment look disappointing, it’s perhaps more a reflection of the current economic outlook in developed economies versus emerging markets than representative of systematic cynicism of the British population. M&S and Sainsbury’s are great showcases for businesses that are actively trying to redefine the relationship between short-term profit and long-term brand equity, both in their business practices and the way they communicate these to British citizens”.

The global study surveyed 50,000 consumers in 14 countries about 300 brands in 12 industry sectors. It follows a study into brands and sustainability carried out by Havas Media last year.

The Top Ten meaningful Brands (UK)

Marks & Spencer
Walmart (Asda)


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