It may sound like something Don Draper would say, but the most iconic brands speak to the heart and trigger an emotional reaction. According to a recent study by the firm Havas, it turns out that the brands that are considered more meaningful in our lives and communities also do better financially – outperforming the stock market by 120%.
The group looked at 700 brands across 23 countries, and measured the impact of the brand’s benefits alongside its impact on areas of well-being, such as health, happiness, financial, community, and relationships.
Consumers are increasingly looking to the private sector to solve problems, and this study confirmed that respondents said that almost three-fourths (71%) of large companies should be actively involved in solving social problems.
The findings revealed an interesting disconnect between people and brands – the majority of people worldwide wouldn’t care if 73% of brands disappeared tomorrow, and only 20 percent of brands were seen to positively impact people’s lives. This disconnect is far greater in the US, where people wouldn’t care if 92% of brands disappeared and believe that only 9% of brands notably contribute to improving people’s quality of life
A key message for sustainability marketers – the study revealed that only 32% of respondents reported feeling that brands honestly communicate about their commitments and promises. And while respondents believe that 71% of companies should play a role in improving the quality of life and well-being, disappointingly, only 39% actually do this.
As Havas stated in its findings, “Personal well-being and emotional connection have become increasingly important in 2013. Nevertheless, the most meaningful global brands take a holistic approach, balancing both personal and collective well-being.”
Top brands in the U.S. were Amazon, Target, Johnson & Johnson, Campbell, Google, Kraft, Glad, Microsoft, Reynolds and Oral B.
The results are a powerful confirmation of the important role that we have as sustainability marketers and communicators. It helps establish the business case for the work we do – to push companies to be thinking systematically and achieving sustainability goals for the sake of their employees and communities. It also is a poignant reminder of the need for transparency and honesty because these values are directly tied back to a company’s reputation.