Brand Strength Is Found In Brand Meaning

Chris WrenMay 11, 2015893 min

Building Meaningful Brands

Changes in what consumers value in the brand relationship are driven by a number of factors. The manner in which consumers (and we marketers) determine value is absolutely subjective and based on how we describe things to ourselves. A few key trends are evidence that when it comes to shared values, we see that like at Oahu’s famed Waikiki Beach, ‘many surfers ride a common wave.’

Among these trends are increased awareness of at-risk resources, visibility into business activities and the communities they impact, and the notion that brands that “do something to contribute” are more deserving of consumers’ money than brands that don’t. Mark Di Somma recently posed 20 questions every activist brand should answer. These trends prove that corporate social responsibility or CSR might be evolving to a point where many brands might become, or are in the midst of becoming activist brands. At the core of this change is digital where an incredibly variegated media ecosystem connects a single, global network society.

HAVAS recently published their 2015 Meaningful Brands Study, the first global study that “measures the potential business benefits gained by a brand when it is seen to improve our wellbeing and quality of life.” The study covers all aspects of people’s lives including the impact on community in our personal wellness (including self-esteem and happiness) alongside market factors like quality and price. Here is the top 10 with Samsung reining at #1.

Brand Strength Is Found In Brand Meaning

Dominique Delport, the Global Managing Director for HAVAS Media Group offers, “Great marketing has a cumulative effect as it’s shared – it naturally flows and gains momentum. We will only share ideas if brands do stuff that matters to us. We now look to brands for meaningful connections – big or small.” The social web is where we share the most.

What does this mean for brands?

“Trust is no longer enough. Meaningfulness is now the key brand driver in our organic world.”HAVAS

As marketers, we finally have some real data to offer CMOs and CEOs:

  1. Meaningful brands deliver 100% more KPI outcomes. For every +10% improvement in meaningfulness, individual brand KPIs grow by:
  • +2.5% for familiarity
  • +4.9% for overall impression
  • +6.6% for purchase intent
  • +3.2% for repurchase intent
  • +4.8% for advocacy
  • +10.4% for premium pricing
  1. Meaningful brands gain on average +46% more share of wallet.
  2. Meaningful brands outperform the stock market by +133%.
  • In the 2007-2015 period, the top 25 brands delivered a +12% annual share of return (7x more than the STOXX 1800)

Western consumers have lower brand loyalty, seeking functional benefits and innovation, perhaps due to skepticism about a brand’s authentic intent in the wellness and personal initiatives. In Asia, there is a significantly greater loyalty to brands as they contribute to personal benefits like status and delivering an inspirational experience.

It should be noted that top performers globally predominately lie in the technology industries, revealing just how much our technology means to us. The value of connecting emotionally and authentically cannot be understated, and the social web provides ample opportunities to do so. Meaning is never created by brands. But brands can supply the ornaments of meaning from which consumers may build their own.

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