Apple, Amazon, Google and Microsoft dominate the toplists of the most purposeful corporate brands and digital brands in the US, according to the study Purposeful Brands by Lynxeye, a management consultancy within growth strategy, innovation and design. In China, Alibaba in particular holds the top positions. The tech giants are not only considered to be meaningful in people’s everyday lives but are also considered to contribute to a better society.
“The most meaningful brands score strong across all the five important areas that make a brand purposeful, they are considered more trustworthy, responsible, innovative, visionary and future-proof”, says Lynxeye’s co-founder Johan Ekelin. “We see that people increasingly choose brands based on how meaningful a role they play in people’s lives as well as in society at large. People care less and less about brands that are not associated with a strong purpose.”
Johan Ekelin, co-founder of Lynxeye, announcing the world’s most purposeful brands at Executive Purpose Summit 19/20.
The study from Lynxeye shows that generally, the most important aspect to be considered a purposeful brand is trust. In turn, the most important element of trust is that people feel that a company or service radiates values that they believe in. As values tend to vary for different parts of society, it also becomes more complex to gain trust from the wider public.
“We see in the US that the number one corporate brand, Apple, is considered a bit more purposeful among people with progressive values, while a brand like Ford, number four on the corporate brand list, resonates with people with more conservative values. People increasingly favor brands and companies that are seen as leaders of positive change, but what is considered positive change differs between people depending on their values. You could say that companies need to take a stand and show that they share values with their core customers to be meaningful”, Johan Ekelin continues.
The Purposeful Brands study has been conducted in Europe for several years, revealing a pattern of increased volatility in terms of how meaningful companies are perceived to be.
“A company that comes up with very meaningful innovations to improve everyday life or solve societal issues can gain ground incredibly fast. At the same time, large corporations with strong brands can drop fast in terms of relevance. Today rapid shifts in ranking can’t solely be explained as repercussions of bad PR, but they are increasingly about lost relevance and that companies are not considered as meaningful anymore. Preferences shift fast and innovations from new entrants can rapidly change what is valued within an industry”, says Christian Ihre, the other co-founder of Lynxeye.
Christian Ihre is the other founder of management consultancy Lynxeye, celebrating 20 years. Today, the company has offices in Stockholm, Singapore and London.
He continues, “we have seen in Europe that sustainability is a crossroad for many companies, where credible and decisive efforts to contribute to solving societal issues can improve the perception fast. Falling behind in industries where sustainability is an emerging topic can lead to drastic drops in relevance. Companies increasingly need to solve real problems for people and society to stay relevant.”
Facts about the international Purposeful Brands Study
- Study conducted in USA and China. 2000 respondents per country. In USA, nationally representative selection of panelists between 18-65 years. In China, selection of panelists between 18-65 years regionally representative for larger cities
- In each country, measuring the 35 corporate brands with highest turnover and the 35 digital brands with most downloaded application or most visited website
- Previous studies have shown that brands with a higher purpose are characterized by five factors: being responsible, visionary, trustworthy, future-proof and innovative
- Each factor is made up of associations, e.g Trustworthy – Is reliable, Is honest, Has values I believe in
- Respondents were asked to choose one or more brands that they think are best described by these associations, such as Are thought leaders in their industry, Wants to achieve something for the future, Acts ethically right, etc.