Havas Media: Only 20% of global brands contribute to a sense of wellbeing and quality of life.

8 11 2011

In releasing their latest results, Havas Media underscores how few brands are contributing meaningful experiences to people – with most people saying they would not care if 70% of brands ceased to exist.

In a press release, Sara de Dios, Global Head of Meaningful Brands at Havas Media said.  “We believe that it is likely that the next generation of brands will flourish in emerging economies – they can, from the onset, create the context that promotes the growth of meaningful brands. Companies and brands operating in emerging economies can become active in transforming their roles; they are creating new lifestyles for millions of people and their communities while contributing to the overall progress of their societies. This will continue in the future with a growing middle class emerging within these markets.”

This innovative global undertaking is able, for the first time, to connect brands with our quality of life and wellbeing. It does this by measuring the perceived impact of brands on our personal wellbeing – their influence on factors such as our health, fitness, happiness, values, social relationships, financial security, lifestyles and habits – and our 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 our 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. That is, 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.

Meaningful Brand Index results:

Ikea, Google, Nestlé, Danone, Leroy Merlin, Samsung, Microsoft, Sony, Unilever and Bimbo are the top 10 global brands. These brands systematically improve our personal and collective wellbeing and are rewarded by stronger brand equity and attachment. Furthermore, the results show that we really care that these brands exist as we see that they are making a significant contribution to our lives and communities. Havas Media argues that many of the top 20 brands are helping us create a new lifestyle that’s more consistent with today’s challenges and consumer trends.

Top 20 global brands according to Havas Media’s Meaningful Brand Index:

  1. Ikea
  2. Google
  3. Nestlé
  4. Danone
  5. Leroy Merlin
  6. Samsung
  7. Microsoft
  8. Sony
  9. Unilever
  10. Bimbo
  11. LG
  12. Philips
  13. Apple
  14. P&G
  15. Mars
  16. Volkswagen
  17. L’Oreal
  18. Wal-Mart
  19. Carrefour
  20. Coca-Cola

Detailed analysis on what makes each brand meaningful

Meaningful Brands also explains what makes things meaningful to us as consumers when it comes to specific brands and sectors. For instance, 65% registered a very strong attachment to Coca-Cola worldwide. However, only 35% think the brand improves our quality of life. In fact, some consumers worldwide think it is contributing negatively to our lives, mostly due to health concerns. However, Coca-Cola has, as with many other brands in the beverage sector, been a pioneer in connecting its brand to other personal issues such as happiness and positivity which has enabled it to successfully build a positive link to our emotional wellbeing.

Sector trends

When looking into brands’ impact on our sense of collective wellbeing (communities/ societies/environment), there is a general improvement. This is the case with the automotive and public transport sectors, driven by greater environmental and product innovation (such as the hybrid and electric cars and energy efficiency). Compared to last year, brands such as Volkswagen, BMW, Toyota and Peugeot have, according to consumers, improved the most in this area.

Personal and individual wellbeing

When it comes to our expectations of improving our personal wellbeing and quality of life, the results are not so good. A staggering 80% of brands across 14 countries are underperforming. This reveals a huge opportunity for brands. To some extent this is being realised by brands in sectors such as FMCG, retail, IT and consumer electronics. According to consumers, most brands in the financial, utilities and telecommunications sectors, underperform in helping us improve our daily lives and individual wellbeing.

Despite these trends, the analysis shows that some brands have been able to break free from these industry limitations. There are brands with exceptionally high MBi scores in low scoring industries that are learning to reconnect with consumers. This is the case for Fidelity Investments in the USA, the energy brand Petrobras in Brazil, EDF in France and the telco brands 02 in the UK and Free in France. All of these register significantly higher than average MBi scores for both their sectors and countries.

Worldwide and regional comparisons:

The analysis suggests that the next generation of brands will come from emerging economies. People in fast growing economies, such as Asian and Latin American markets, record a stronger and healthier relationship with brands. The proportion of brands making a notable positive contribution to our lives increases to around 30% in Latin America, compared to 8% in European markets, where people tend to be more sceptical and less engaged with brands. In the US it’s 5%.

By contrast, the situation in developed economies is the opposite. Brands in these regions are no longer seen to improve people’s quality of life. There is an aging and increasingly poorer middle class who are demanding that brands help them to lead and create new lifestyles that fit in to their new expectations and values. In order to survive, these brands must re evaluate their definitions of success and take up the challenge to make meaningful contributions to these people’s lives.”

Hernan Sanchez Neira, CEO Havas Media Intelligence, adds:
“It’s clear from our analysis that we need to take a new look at the relationship between brands and consumers. Nowadays we want so much more from brands than just promises or stories. Brands that manage to create better relationships dominate the marketplace.”

Meaningful Brands helps us to develop this type of relationship by understanding exactly what people expect from brands. It also helps us track how successful companies are responding to these needs by understanding how these companies are contributing to our wellbeing, both as citizens and individuals, and how they communicate these values to us. It also shows us that there’s a big business opportunity for brands who are able to satisfy consumers by creating wellbeing in the context of their new values, expectations and local market realities.”

Consumer sentiment continues to shift:

  • For the 4th year running consumer expectations of companies’ responsible behaviour continues to rise
  • Nearly 85% of consumers worldwide expect companies to become actively involved in solving these issues (an increase of 15% from 2010)
  • Those prepared to reward responsible companies by choosing to buy their products is up 11% from last year to more than half of all consumers (51%)
  • Those who would pay a 10% premium for a product produced in a responsible way is up once again – from 44% last year to 53% in 2011
  • The percentage of us who would punish irresponsible companies has also increased to 44% (from 36% in 2010)
  • Only 28% of consumers worldwide think that companies today are working hard enough to solve our social and environmental challenges.
  • Only 20% trust companies when they communicate about their social/environmental commitments and initiatives

About the research:

The research was carried out from March to June 2011 across 14 markets – France, Spain, UK, Germany, Italy, USA, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, China, Japan and India. The research took into account the views of 50,000 consumers via online panels.

About Havas Media

Havas Media is the global media network of Havas.

Havas Media represents one of the world’s fastest growing media networks and its agencies have grown from 10 markets in 1999 to 119 markets in 2011.

Havas Media services its clients through a portfolio of specialist global networks and agencies. The group is organised to maximise local market dynamics whilst leveraging the extensive global insight and strategic support within Havas Media. The range of companies within Havas Media include: MPG (Havas Media’s global media network), Arena Media (Havas Media’s network for tailor-made communication services), Havas Digital (Havas Media’s global interactive network) and Havas Sports & Entertainment (Havas Media’s global sports and entertainment communication network).

Further information can be found at www.havasmedia.com or follow us on twitter @HavasMedia





Kudos to Coke: Appoints Global Chief Sustainability Officer

30 05 2011

Congratulations to Coca-Cola with its appointment of former Chief Marketing Officer Beatriz Perez to Chief Sustainability Officer.

Under the vision of CEO Muhtar Kent, Perez will be responsibile for integrating sustainability initiatives into brand and marketing efforts and further demonstrate its monitoring and improving the commitment to the moderate impact of its products and operations on the environment.

We also find it notable that the new office of sustainability at Coca-Cola will include leaders responsible for corporate social responsibility, environment and water, external affairs and sustainability strategy and communication.

Read the news release below.

May 23, 2011 – The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) has appointed it first Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) and created a new global Office of Sustainability in an effort to better integrate ongoing initiatives.

Beatriz Perez, who is currently Chief Marketing Officer for Coca-Cola North America, will serve as CSO beginning July 1. She will work to integrate Coca-Cola’s sustainability initiatives in the areas of water, climate protection, packaging and recycling.

“We have made significant progress with our sustainability initiatives, but our current approach needs focus and better integration to further accelerate our system sustainability agenda and meet our 2020 Vision goals,” said Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO, The Coca-Cola Company. “We are realigning this important work to create a unified team, strategy and business plan that connects our sustainability work and actions.”

Under Perez’s leadership, the Office of Sustainability will create and oversee Coca-Cola’s integrated global sustainability strategy; set goals and commitments; assess and drive scaled investments; and steward and track all global partnerships and key sustainability projects.

Reporting to Perez, the new team will include John Reid, Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility; Charlotte Oades, Global Director, Women’s Economic Empowerment; Abby Rodgers, Vice President, Sustainability Strategy and Communication; Jeff Seabright, Vice President, Environment and Water; and Lisa Manley, Group Director, Corporate External Affairs.

Perez will report to Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer Alex Cummings.

Kent said Perez is uniquely qualified for the role based on her passion for sustainability and deep experience at the Company, including the incorporation of sustainability initiatives into Coca-Cola’s North American marketing programs.





Brilliant Work: The Sustainability & Branding Survey

7 04 2011

“If you are striving to be more sustainable, your actions need to demonstrate that in everything you do,

which means new ways of thinking about branding.”

Kudos to the Sustainable Branding Collaborative for their new research report surveying innovators and early adopters in the sustainable business environment.  Some of the key interesting findings that stand out of the work include:

  • 63% say brand and 59% say sustainability is of primary importance to their organizations success.
  • 73% say sustainability investments yield positive returns.
  • 47% advise firms that are branding more sustainable products to “walk their talk”.

You can download a summary of their survey here.

The Sustainability & Branding Survey






American People to Corporate America: We’d Vote You Out.

30 12 2010

In a new survey issued by StrategyOne, 82% of American’s gave a “C grade or lower” on how corporate America did in 2010, with 40% of Americans assigning Corporate America a “D” or an “F”.

The wake up call is that Americans are extremely frustrated and dissatisfied with the behavior of companies in America.  Quite literally, if the leadership of American companies were politicians, there would be a landslide election of the American people voting them out of their corner offices.

“Let’s be clear, Americans are not dreaming up some far out vision of utopia,” said said Bradley Honan, senior vice president of StrategyOne. “Instead they are being realistic that Corporate America should – and indeed must – engage in important issues of the day where they can make a demonstrably positive difference.  That means the economy and jobs for starters, but also ensuring their products are safe and not harmful to use, and that they simply conduct their day to day business activities in an honest, ethical, and transparent manner.”

Other interesting facts undercovered in the StrategyOne survey included:

  • 88% of consumers said it was extremely or very important that companies help get the economy back on track in 2011.
  • 88% said it was extremely or very important to conduct business in an ethical manner in 2011, and 87% said it was a top priority to do business in an honest and moral way.
  • 85% of consumers thought it was extremely or very important for companies in 2011 to deliver high quality products and services;
  • 84% of Americans thought companies needed to demonstrate good governance in 2011.
  • 82% said it was a top priority for companies to make fewer mistakes and errors in 2011.

Let’s hope company leaders make some serious New Year’s resolutions to improve their performance and more effectively communicate with the public to show how they are being more responsbile, sustainable and ethical.  That is the only way to reduce the “trust gap”.  And it is important for corporate leaders to recognize—once and for all—that their futures are dependent on their customers….who happen to be the American people, at the end of the day.

StrategyOne Survey Methodology:

StrategyOne conducted 1,081 online interviews among a representative sampling of Americans between December 6 and 8, 2010.





If You’ve Got It = Spend It!

6 09 2010

In an edited excerpt of his new book Aftershock: Reshaping the World Economy After The Crises, Phillpee Legrain writes about the need to embrace new approaches capitalism and consumerism.  His point is that without consumption, there is no production, no income and no jobs.  And in plenty of markets around the world, there are millions and millions of people with unmet needs.  Responsible brands understand that they need to be serving those markets not only with sustainable products but with efforts that aid the public good.  The balance is essential for the retention and recruitment of new audiences of prosperous consumers.

“The aftermath of the crisis opens up huge opportunities to reshape the world economy for the better.  A fairer, richer, greener and more stable global economy is possible.  But to achieve it, we need to rediscover the virtues of open markets, open societies and open minds that go hand in hand with progress:  great opportunities for everyone to chase their dreams and fulfill their potentials.”

Read the article in Ode Magazine.





Deloitte: The Gap Between Aspiration and Action

30 08 2010

A new survey of corporate business executives by Deloitte identifies the gap that still exists between sustainability vision and execution.   While most business leaders surveyed indicated knowledge of the benefits of developing a relationship between sustainability and the business, much more work needs to be done to make it a fundamental part of the operational, cultural and strategic performance of the company.

Thanks for Deloitte for making this research available to business leaders everywhere.

Read the Deloitte Executive Summary Here.





Peter Clarke: 5 Branding Commandments for the Post-Crash Economy

29 08 2010

A very inspiring article by Peter Clark on 5 compelling branding commandents for marketers and agencies moving forward.  His straightforward summary of branding principals for a post-recession era reminds us that consumer’s expectations for brand behavior are forever changed.

Peter’s commandants are:

1.  Simplicity

2. Transparency

3. Responsibility

4.  Sustainability

5.  Affordability

Read the 5 Commandments Article Here.

Grass Image:  Dennis Wong





Visit Fearless Cottage: Our friend Alex’s journey to enlightenment.

29 08 2010

Congrats to Creative Insurgent Alex Bogusky who has walked away from a 20 year career in advertising where he accomplished just about everything. Countless awards, new business wins, huge company growth, industry recognition.  But now he has chucked it all to pursue a new mission of using the creativity that made him famous to promote all aspects of social responsibility.

In his profile of Alex in Fast Company, Robert Safian captures the vision;  “Bogusky has made the FearLess Cottage something of a hub for people he deems, as he has inscribed on the cottage’s keys, “capable of pushing aside fear in pursuit of doing the right thing,” which is to “help define a new era of social responsibility.”

Read the profile of Alex in Fast Company

Visit Alex’s Fearless Cottage Here.

Kudo’s to Alex for the courage to do the right thing.  Recognizing the art of fearless thinking and creativity can make a difference.  He makes us proud and sets the new standard for 21st century challenges:  for successful businesspeople to turn their energies to things that really matter.





The next level of accountability. Governance for corporate behavior and its impact on the planet.

30 07 2009

Sustainability reporting among corporate issuers is largely still voluntary, it is far from universal, and often inconsistent and incomplete.”

– Social Investment Forum letter to SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro

imagesLast week the 400 member Social Investment Forum called on the Securities and Exchange Commission to establish the mandatory reporting of corporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) or sustainability reporting.  Citing the fact that corporate social and environmental performance can have material impact on portfolio performance, the proposal calls for sustainability performance to be reported on consistent measures and issued in an annual report along with standard financial disclosures.

The letter also pointed out that that similar regulation is being proposed by the United Nations and several individual countries.  While relatively off the radar screens in mass media, this conversation is serious in nature and represents significant steps forward in regulating accountability for corporations on social measures beyond financial data.

Read the letter.