Amazon, Marks & Spencer and John Lewis are most “meaningful” UK brands, new Havas study reports


Amazon, Marks & Spencer and John Lewis are the UK’s most meaningful brands, according to a new study which ranks brands by their impact on consumer wellbeing and their personal finances.

Online retail giant Amazon secured the top slot in the UK retail sector findings, followed by openly ‘ethical’ retail heritage brands Marks & Spencer (second) and John Lewis (third).

Aldi was ranked fourth, followed by Sainsbury’s, Samsung (sixth), Boots (seventh), Lidl (eighth), Paypal (ninth) and Sony (tenth).

The ‘Meaningful Brands’ study was conducted by media group, Havas, and is claimed to be the first global study to show how people’s quality of life and wellbeing connects with brands at both a human and business level.

The research spanned 1,000 brands, 300,000 people, 34 countries and 12 industries. The research covers all aspects of how purchase choices relate to people’s lives, including the impact on our collective wellbeing (the role brands play in communities and the issues people care about), on personal wellbeing (self-esteem, healthy lifestyles, connectivity with friends and family, making lives easier, fitness and happiness) and marketplace factors, which relate to product performance such as quality and price.

The results revealed that a brand’s share of wallet is on average 46% higher for Meaningful Brands and can be up to as much as seven times larger.

Further, the performance of marketing KPIs set by top Meaningful Brands can grow at twice the rate of those set by lower scoring Meaningful Brands. For example, for every 10% increase in meaningfulness, a brand can increase its purchase and repurchase intent by 6% and price premiums by 10.4%. This statistically proves that a brand’s meaningfulness is a key driver of KPIs success, said Havas.

Meaningful Brands also outperform the stock market by nearly seven fold, with top scorers delivering an annual return of 11.76% – nearly seven times higher than the STOXX 1800 stock index, researchers found. Not only do top scorers in Meaningful Brands 2015 outperform the stock market by 133%, the gap has widened since 2013 (120%).

Dominique Delport, global managing director Havas Media Group, said: “Great marketing has a cumulative effect as it’s shared – it naturally flows and gains momentum. We will only share ideas if brands do stuff that matters to us. We now look to brands for meaningful connections – big or small. By understanding this, our Meaningful Brands project becomes central to how brands communicate in this new organic world.

“This year, we’ve tackled one of the big issues for our industry – if meaningfulness is so crucial, how do you measure and create it in a way that CEOs can buy into, and marketers can evaluate? Our 2015 project pulls in data that spans across stock market, share of wallet and marketing KPIs enabling CEOs and CMOs to work together and crack the code to meaningfulness.”

UK top Meaningful Brands and sector trends: retail and consumer products dominate

Havas Media Group said its Meaningful Brands 2015 survey reflects profound shifts in UK attitudes and purchase intent towards brands in key economic sectors. Traditional or long established brand heritage does not guarantee the highest levels of meaningfulness. The results demonstrate those established that strike a balance between brand marketing and relationship building across all touchpoints can remain competitive with the many newer entrants, notably those challengers re-shaping the digital and supermarket sectors.

In the UK, retail remains the top performing sector in comparison with other sectors in terms of Meaningfulness and enhancing our quality of life. The findings reflect changing attitudes towards the retail sector. The drivers of meaningfulness in the category reflect the shifts in people’s expectations:  The range of factors that can drive meaningfulness come into play including healthy lifestyles, contribution to the environment and other quality of life factors.

Paul Frampton, CEO, Havas Media & head of clients & strategy, Havas Media Group, said: “Our Meaningful Brands study shows that it’s not enough for brands to focus on building brand equity alone; people want to connect their lives to brands that make it possible for us to live well and consume better, and that takes commitment to relationship building. Today’s brand valuations are more likely to be built on customer loyalty than brand equity and we see that the ‘citizen consumer’ believes this to be true too. Meaningful brands are not only likely to gain purchase preference, loyalty and share of expenditure they’re also more trusted, even in brand agnostic markets like the UK and Germany. Seeing PayPal for example, shine as a top 10 Meaningful Brand in the UK versus traditional financial brands reflects this perfectly.

“The fact that 64% of Brits would care if Amazon disappeared demonstrates its unique, holistic contribution to our quality of life. Our survey shows that bad press on tax policies (which Starbucks suffered for) has not damaged Amazon’s success. Why? Because people believe Amazon is unique, it scores ahead of Ebay on savings, more responsible products and ‘making me happier’ (alongside price and service factors). Business models can’t be built on efficiency, scale or quality alone any longer. Meaningful Brands have momentum for the future. But today only 7% of brands in Europe are seen to make a positive contribution to people’s quality of life – the opportunity is there for many more to seize.”​


Top Meaningful Brands globally and sector trends – consumer electronics dominates

The top 10 global performers for 2015 are Samsung, Google, Nestlé, Bimbo, Sony, Microsoft, Nivea, Visa, IKEA and Intel. Following these leaders are HP, Dove (Unilever), Walmart, Gillette (P&G), Knorr (Unilever), Kellogg’s, Amazon, PayPal, Honda and Carrefour.

Brands with the largest percentage increase globally since the last analysis in 2013 are Honda, LG, ING and AXA. Top performing categories worldwide are consumer electronics, healthcare, food, personal care and retail. Technology brands account for nearly one third of the top 50 global Meaningful Brands, with three out of top five brands from this sector – Samsung, Google and Sony.

This 2015 analysis shows size is not a barrier to meaningfulness, with smaller brands outperforming larger brands. For example Honda vs. Toyota or Ford; PayPal vs. MasterCard and Uniqlo vs. Zara or H&M.

In 2015 top performers stand out for making a meaningful difference to our personal wellbeing by delivering more tangible benefits, said Havas. However, the results from the 2015 study show that there is no one size fits all formula, but many different pathways to meaningfulness.