UK consumers wouldn’t care if 94 per cent of brands disappeared

According to a new report from Havas Media, consumers would not care if 74 per cent of brands disappeared, with that figure rising to 94 per cent in UK.

For the first time this year, the Havas ‘Meaningful Brands’ study looked at the role of content and whether it has value or not. This is in response to the growing importance of content and the customer experience, and as media agencies try to figure out their role in this changing landscape. Yet the report found that around 60 per cent of the content created by the world’s leading 1,500 brands is “just clutter” that has little impact on consumers’ lives or business results.

The study, which questioned 375,000 people across 33 countries, found that 84 per cent expect brands to produce content. This can range from digital content such as podcasts or a web series to experiential events. Yet 60 per cent said the content brands currently create is “poor, irrelevant or fails to deliver”.

There is a big benefit to getting content right. Havas found a 71 per cent correlation between content effectiveness and a brand’s impact on consumers’ personal wellbeing. That is important because the greater impact a brand has on personal wellbeing, the more meaningful a brand becomes and the better business results it achieves.

According to the study, meaningful brands outperform the stock market by 206 per cent, see a 48 per cent increase in share of wallet and 137 per cent greater returns on KPIs. The study defines ‘meaningful brands’ as those that have an impact on consumers’ personal, collective and functional benefits.

The research found that most brands do a “good job” on the functional and collective benefits but fall down when it comes to personal wellbeing. That suggests that while they are successfully explaining to consumers the benefits of using their products, they are failing to move their brand up the benefit ladder to explain its impact on their lives.

That failure means globally consumers would not care if 74 per cent of brands disappeared, with that figure rising to 94 per cent in UK. That is a similar level to previous iterations of the study and despite many brands’ attempts to show they have a brand purpose or stand for something.

The study shows that brands need to understand what sort of content works for their audience and where the opportunity is. For example, consumers expect retailers to create content that ‘educates’ them, yet most are fixated on ‘entertaining’.

Waitrose’s recent TV campaign showing a live feed of cows grazing could be seen as a prime example of the type of content that works for retailers. For other categories there are opportunities beyond priority content. For example in healthcare, while content should primarily be about helping, educating and informing consumers also want to be inspired, hence the success of the Nicorette campaign.

What brands need to do is break down their content, take a step back and ask, for their industry, what the role of content is. Whether it is to inspire, educating, help, reward, inform or entertain then rank them and work out what is a ‘must have’, where the opportunities are and what they should not be focusing on at all.”

Overall, tech sectors topped the meaningful brands list, with Google, PayPal and Whatsapp leading the global rankings and Whatsapp coming top in the UK. Part of the reason for this is because tech is so engrained in people’s lives, meaning these brands perform well from a personal benefits standpoint.

The global top 10
1. Google
2. PayPal
3. Whatsapp
4. YouTube
5. Samsung
6. Mercedes-Benz
7. Nivea
8. Microsoft
9. Ikea
10. Lego

A meaningful brand as one which functionally works, is value for money and makes someone’s life easier, as well as considering the impact it has on a community. Havas looked at 1,500 global brands, getting feedback from 300,000 people in 33 countries.

A separate study by consultancy Brand Finance, also released this week, claims that Google is the most valuable brand in the world, rising from $88.2 billion in 2016 to $109.4 billion. Google has overtaken Apple, which now has a brand value of $107.1 billion, down 27 percent on last year.