A scarcity of meaningful brands

In a recent study, Havas Media found that consumers wouldn’t care if 70% of brands disappeared. That sobering statistic is partially a result of consumer’s higher expectations for brands in 2013: it is not enough to simply sell a good product/service. Brands are also expected to positively impact “the wellbeing of individuals, communities and the environment.”  Those that don’t, consumers say, would not be missed if they went away.

Havas Media surveyed 30,000 consumers in 14 markets around the world. Consumers overwhelmingly felt that brands have a responsibility to become involved in society and the environment, and most said they were willing to reward good behavior by paying more for a socially responsible product. Brands have to be careful about how they promote themselves, however, with consumers increasingly wary of greenwashing.

Only 20% of brands were credited with “noticeably improving people’s quality of life.” Of those, Ikea, Google and Nestlé were considered to be the top 3 most meaningful.

While some see this a danger sign for marketing managers looking to protect their budgets, we simply see this as another example of the shifting marketing paradigm. In today’s world, it is less about advertising to consumers and more about interacting with them. Brands need to engage consumers in a meaningful dialogue through social media and branded content, to help consumers understand their brand values and how they have a positive impact on the world.


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