Corporate Eye

3 out of 4 Brands Could Disappear and Most People Wouldn’t Care

businessman holding globeIs your brand meaningful? Marketing and communications company Havas Media Group has been indexing brands based on a framework that connects human well-being with brands at a business level for years, and in 2013, most brands add little meaning to people’s lives.

The Meaningful Brand Index is used to measure the benefit brands bring to people’s lives and ranks over 700 brands among 134,000 consumers in 23 countries using 12 “areas of well-being.” Those areas include health, financial, relationships, community, happiness, and more. After intensive analysis, each brand is ranked based on the effect it has on quality of life for consumers.

The 2013 list is topped by the following 12 brands:

  1. Google
  2. Samsung
  3. Microsoft
  4. Nestle
  5. Sony
  6. IKEA
  7. Dove
  8. Nike
  9. Walmart
  10. DANONE
  11. Philips
  12. P&G

Interestingly, the majority of brands in the top 10 are technology brands. The top 10 sectors ranked overall are: retail, food and beverage, IT and consumer electronics, travel and tourism, consumer goods, media, public transport, auto, oil and energy/utilities, telecom, and finance and insurance.

The rankings only tell a small part of the story though. Havas Media Group shared a number of key learnings from its analysis in a press release:

  • Brands in the Meaningful Brands Index beat the stock market by 120%.
  • People believe that just 20% of worldwide brands meaningfully affect their lives in positive ways.
  • Most people around the world would not care if 73% of brands disappeared tomorrow. In Europe and the United States, the percentage is higher at 92% of brands, but it’s 58% in Latin America and just 49% in Asia.
  • People are attached six times more to brands in Latin America and Asia than in western markets.
  • Globally, 32% of people believe that brands communicate honestly. The number drops to 21% in Western Europe and 26% in the United States but rises to 36% in Latin America and 56% in Asia.
  • Only 36% of Americans believe that brands work hard to improve quality of life for consumers. The number is even lower (29%) in Western Europe.

In the press release, Amy du Pon, Global Head of Data Insights for Havas Media Group, explained why it’s so important to develop meaningful brands in 2013, saying, “Relying on incremental marketing dollars alone is not sustainable. The opportunity today is for us to reinvigorate our brands, the role they play, and the human value they realize.”

Consumer trust in brands has been falling steadily, and the Havas Media Group study confirmed that loss of trust, born of unmet expectations, is leading to brand indifference in the West. Every company should prioritize building brand trust by delivering on expectations consistently. That’s a basic rule of branding, but it’s also a rule that is easily forgotten.

Do consumers trust your brand? Is it meaningful? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

Image: Jakub Krechowicz via stock.xchng

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.