Bad news brands: consumers could probably live without you

While some of the largest brands in the world spent upwards of $5 million on Super Bowl ads this past weekend, Havas Group’s Meaningful Brands report delivers sobering news for brands: consumers wouldn’t care if 74% of the brands they use disappeared off the face of the earth.

Billed as the “largest global analysis of its kind,” Havas Group’s study polled more than 300,000 people in 33 countries about 1,500 global brands in 15 industry sectors.

“We live in a world of content overload. A world where every day 500 million tweets, 4.3 billion Facebook messages and 500 million hours of YouTube footage are sent, posted and uploaded,” Yannick Bolloré, Havas Group’s chairman and CEO, stated. “In this world, only brands that form more meaningful connections with people will prosper. It’s no longer enough to produce products that work. Brands need to know why people care, and what makes their brands meaningful.”

Unfortunately, most brands appear to be falling short of consumer expectations. Havas Group says that three-quarters of consumers expect brands to “make more of a contribution to our wellbeing and quality of life,” but only 40% of consumers see brands doing that. And while the vast majority (84%) of consumers expect brands to produce content that “entertains, tells stories, provides solutions [and] creates experiences and events.”, they say 60% of all content created by brands isn’t adequate.

With figures like these, it’s easy to understand why consumers wouldn’t lose any sleep if three-quarters of the brands they used went away.

So which brands are delivering?

Digital brands like Google, Microsoft, PayPal, Apple and Amazon made Havas Group’s Meaningful Brands list, as did companies like Toyota, Walmart, Kellogg’s, Gillette, Disney and Nike. Havas Group says that shares of these Meaningful Brands outperformed the broader stock market by 206% over the last decade and can increase their KPIs by up to 137% compared to peers.

If that isn’t enough to convince brands that “meaningfulness” matters, Havas Group found that “meaningfulness in brand marketing can increase share of wallet by up to nine times” and each 10% improvement in “meaningful performance” can increase premium pricing by 12%, purchases by 10% and familiarity by 7%.

Of course, delivering “meaningfulness” would appear to be easier said than done, given the fact that many if not most brands have been investing heavily in producing compelling content. The fact that so many of them appear to be failing to meet consumer expectations would suggest that there’s a huge disconnect between what brands think they’re delivering and what consumers actually perceive them to be delivering.

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