What is Meant by Meaningful Brands?

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By Zulfiqar Ali Sajwani
In pursuit of judging a brand’s movement towards success, marketers are coming up with new metrics every day, each one expanding the horizon of perception from the previous. We saw the market researchers declaring the ‘coolest’ and the ‘most loved’ brands in the past few days. Now even ‘meaningfulness’ has found its place in the list of indices for marketers.

Recently, the Havas Media  group came up with a ranking for meaningful brands, reflecting the strong impact of the substance of a brand on its success.

Havas Media Group’s new metric of brand strength is the first global analytical framework that links human well-being with brands at a business level. Measuring the benefits brands bring to our lives, the study has evaluated around 700 brands amongst 134,000 consumers in 23 countries.

The aim of this measurement is to understand the impact of the brand’s benefits, comprehending them on 12 different areas of well-being such as finances, health, happiness, relationships and community etc.

Interesting Findings

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Some of the most interesting findings of this study include the fact that the majority of the world would not care if 73% of the brands disappear tomorrow. This stands as an astounding fact to all of the brand gurus who bloat over how brands have become ‘vital’ for a consumer today.

Another revelation that gives the reality check to all of the brands that propagate themselves as ‘improvers of quality of life’, is the fact that merely 20% of the brands worldwide were meaningful and positively impact people’s lives.

The researchers deliver some hard hitting facts as well, like only 32% of the consumers believe that brands communicate honestly about commitments and promises. This represents the fact that the consumer today is well aware of the silent manipulations that the marketers may aim on their target marketers. No more is the consumer ignorant of the brand’s true identity.

The above fact translates into the finding that shows that 54% of the consumers do not trust brands. In the realm of marketing where brand trust plays an extremely significant role in developing equity for the brand, this statistic definitely shows a signal of immediate action.

Throwing some light over the contribution of brands to society, the study reflects that consumers deeply want brands to be involved in Corporate Social Responsibility. The fact that consumers believe 71% of large companies should be involved in solving social problem, presents a fertile terrain of opportunity for brands to cash on this touch point.


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After articulating these amazing facts, the study gives a list of the top 10 meaningful brands. Alike all other recent brand lists, the top three positions are held by the technology giants of the world.

Google tops the list, followed by Samsung and Microsoft. With the type of services and products these companies offer, it is very likely that these brands score well on the criterion of the meaningfulness.

Coming as the close fourth is the FMCG Nestle, which has positioned itself very well as a healthy brand that actually improves the lives of people.

Unlike the other lists that do not have a tie at any position, the meaningful list shows a tie on sixth and seventh positions, where IKEA and Dove stand together at sixth position, followed by Nike and Wal-Mart sitting on the seventh place.


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While tech brands lead the list of the meaningful brands, the meaningful industry list is topped by the world’s most common industry that is, retail.

This is followed by Food and Beverages and IT/Consumer Electronics on the second and third positions. This ranking clearly outlines the fact that consumers still find the retailing industry extremely vital to their living.


The study solidifies the impact of ‘meaningfulness’ on brand success by highlighting that Meaningful Brands outperform the stock market by 120%. Hence, the abstract of meaningfulness is not something that is in the air. It actually translates into the improvement of the financial position of its parent company.

Therefore, all brand managers should now aim to make their brand ‘meaningful’. Beware; the consumer is watching you closely.