Highlights from Havas Media’s Meaningful Brands study

Last month saw the 2019 release of Havas Media’s Meaningful Brands survey. The global study, run annually since 2008, utilises data from 1,800 brands, 31 markets and 22 industries to explore the ways in which brands “tangibly improve people’s lives and the role they play in society.”

Via a wide-ranging survey of 350,000 consumers, the report determines those brands which consumers view as essential to their daily lives – as well as those they view with relative indifference. This year, top scorers included Google, PayPal and Mercedes-Benz.

The study also puts content at the forefront of its research, examining over 43 different content types and over 75,000 content combinations to determine what content does and doesn’t contribute to a brand’s overall ‘meaningfulness’. Here’s a brief summary of some of the key findings from the survey.

Meaningful businesses mean business

It’s a fact: people want to buy from brands that mean something to them. The brands dubbed ‘most meaningful’ in Havas Media’s study generated almost triple the purchase intent in non-customers (38% compared to 14%), and over double the repurchase intent (70% compared to 29%). In fact, Havas Media claims that meaningful brands outperform the stock market by 134%.

Brand purpose performs

‘Purpose’ has long been a buzzword in marketing – and, apparently, rightly so. According to the study, 55% of consumers believe that brands are more essential than governments in creating a better future for our society.

As Maria Garrido, Chief Insights Officer at Havas Media Group, adds:

“There is no doubt about it. Being meaningful is good for business! Our findings show that consumers will reward brands who want to make the world a better place and who reflect their values. A massive 77% of consumers prefer to buy from companies who share their values. Brand activism will become a crucial part of a brand’s strategy.”

In a saturated marketplace, meaningless brands fail to achieve differentiation

As we enter the third decade of the 21st century, competition for consumer attention has never been so tough. In this brand-eat-brand world, only the most meaningful businesses will survive. In fact, according to the study, consumers wouldn’t care if 77% of brands disappeared.

Poor content is one of the culprits

A major cause of this perceived meaninglessness is poorly conceived content. According to the study, 9 in 10 consumers expect brands to provide content. However, more than half the content (58%) generated by the world’s top 1,800 brands doesn’t provide real meaning to the customer, failing to either deliver value or cut through online ‘noise’.

Geography plays a role

When it comes to which industries are perceived as most meaningful, preferences vary considerably according to location. Consumer goods reportedly ranks as the most meaningful industry for customers in North America and East Asia. Meanwhile, Europe values retail most of all.

While retail carries the most meaning for larger economies, Latin American customers view travel and tourism as the industry that matters most to them. 

In fact, strong content for the travel sector was found to be the third most effective out of all major industries. And globally, the three things consumers want most from their travel content is ‘reward’, ‘help’ and ‘inspiration’ – a finding that resonates clearly with recent research conducted by Quill into the role of content in the online travel purchase journey.

For more in-depth insights, click here and read Havas Media’s Meaningful Brands report.

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