Most brands are pants says new Havas survey but the best ones, like IKEA, help you and your friends

Only a fifth of all the brands out there make a meaningful difference to our lives according to new research from Havas – and most people would happily do without 70 per cent of them (over 90 per cent of them in the US and UK).

The Meaningful Brands survey purports to measure the effect of brands on our ‘wellbeing.’ Factors in this include health, fitness, happiness, values, social relationships, financial security, lifestyles and habits – and collective wellbeing, that is, how brands help to improve communities, societies and the environment.

The analysis includes a measurement called The Meaningful Brand Index (MBi) that uses consumer perception to compare and track the impact brands have on people’s lives. Based on the views of 50,000 people in 14 countries, the results show a direct relationship between a brand’s MBi score and the level of consumer attachment.

So the greater the contribution the brand has to our wellbeing – measured by the value it creates for individuals, communities and the environment – the larger role it will have in people’s lives and the more meaningful it becomes.

And the report goes on to suggest that such brands are good news for investors too; outperforming other brands by 120 per cent in financial terms.

This all fits rather suspiciously well with Havas CEO David Jones’s ‘One World’ mantra; the charity Havas supports that tries to align business and social needs for the greater good of young people particularly.

But, unlike other studies like Interbrand’s annual poll and WPP’s Brandz, it does at least offer some clues about how to create successful or ‘meaningful’ brands (popping in to Havas is obviously a start point).

And the top 20 MBi brands in order are:

Ikea; Google, Nestlé, Danone, Leroy Merlin, Samsung, Microsoft, Sony, Unilever, Bimbo, LG, Philips, Apple, Procter & Gamble, Mars, Volkswagen, L’Oreal, Wal-Mart, Carrefour and Coca-Cola.

Which is interesting. The French do rather well in this survey (Leroy Merlin is a French garden products retailer). Bimbo is a Mexican-owned bakery brand. There’s only one car company (VW) and nothing from the world of finance. Nestlé and Danone (or Dannon as they call it in the US these days) figure surprisingly highly. Facebook and Google are conspicuous by their absence.

Does it matter that consumers the world over would happily do without most brands? Not really, at their simplest level brands are just signals saying ‘buy me.’ If you like one brand in a sector the rest aren’t going to matter that much.

But it’s an interesting survey all the same.

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About Stephen Foster

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Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

One comment

  1. Avatar

    “Facebook and Google are conspicuous by their absence.”?

    So is it not the same Google that appears in 2nd position?

    cf:
    “And the top 20 MBi brands in order are:
    Ikea; Google, Nestlé, Danone, Leroy Merlin, Samsung, Microsoft, Sony, Unilever, Bimbo, LG, Philips, Apple, Procter & Gamble, Mars, Volkswagen, L’Oreal, Wal-Mart, Carrefour and Coca-Cola.”