Havas Media launches Meaningful Brands study

09 Feb,2012

By A Correspondent


Havas Media has come out with findings of its research that suggests that 20 per cent of brands have a notable positive impact on our sense of well-being and quality of life. Some of the findings also suggest that majority of consumers are willing to pay 10 per cent more for socially and environmentally responsible goods in India and China and 95 per cent and 85 per cent say they trust companies with a responsible or social profile more than those without in China and India respectively.


This is the fourth yearly study done by Havas Media, which started initially with a study on sustainability and has evolved further to studying Meaningful Brands.


What is intriguing is that for the second year running, Havas Media found that most people would not care if 70 per cent of the brands ceased to exist. Further, it argues, that the existing approaches to building and measuring brand value are out of date. As a direct response, Havas Media has launched ‘Meaningful Brands’, a global framework that offers a new index, analysis and proprietary tools to measure and build brand value in the context of today’s demanding environment.


This innovative global undertaking that covers India and China in Asia Pacific enables, for the first time, to connect brands with our quality of life and well-being. It does this by measuring the perceived impact of brands on our personal wellbeing – their influence on factors such as our health, fitness, happiness, values, social relationships, financial security, lifestyles and habits – and our collective well-being, that is, how brands help to improve communities, societies and the environment.


Speaking to MxMIndia, Vishnu Mohan, CEO of Havas Media Asia Pacific, said: “The findings suggest that the brands in the emerging markets like Asia have a much more positive impact and score higher on trust as compared to western market. It would have been believed that vice versa would be true but this study shows that the future of brands is higher in emerging markets like India. My interpretation is that valued brands are those that have values too. Hence those brands that are considered meaningful also have been performing well on the stock index.”


The research was carried out from March to June 2011 across 14 markets – France, Spain, UK, Germany, Italy, USA, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, China, Japan and India. The research took into account the views of 50,000 consumers via online panels. Mr Mohan explained that the plan is to include more markets and consumers to make it more robust.


The findings of Meaningful Brands analysis are especially relevant for marketers in Asia. It clearly shows the seriousness with which consumers in Asia look at the social, ethical and environmental aspects of a brand. As a region, which is growing at a rapid pace, the findings provide us a huge opportunity to create the context that promotes the growth of meaningful brands. Companies and brands operating in our region can play a big role in transforming the lives of millions of people and contribute to the progress of their societies.


Some of the key consumer trends in China and India include:


  • 74 per cent and 62 per cent say they would pay 10 per cent more for socially and environmentally responsible goods in China and India (highest globally, aside from Chile).
  • Information and expense are the main barriers to socially responsible consumption, with credibility being another key issue in both markets.
  • 84 per cent in China feel it’s the responsibility of companies rather than the government to solve social and environmental issues (compared with 64 per cent in 2009) and 76 per cent in India, with a similar increase, since 2009.
  • 95 per cent and 85 per cent say they trust companies with a responsible or social profile more than those without in China and India respectively.
  • Empowerment is down in China: 64 per cent feel that they can make a difference to how companies behave and this is static in India at 71 per cent.
  • But so is cynicism: 71 per cent feel that most companies are only trying to be responsible to improve their image and only 12 per cent trust what companies say in this area.


The analysis suggests that the next generation of brands will come from emerging economies. People in fast growing economies, such as Asian and Latin American markets, record a stronger and healthier relationship with brands. The proportion of brands making a notable positive contribution to our lives increases to around 57 per cent in China, 30 per cent in Latin America, compared to 8 per cent in


European markets, where people tend to be more skeptical and less engaged with brands. In the US, it’s 5 per cent. By contrast, the situation in developed economies is the opposite. Brands in these regions are no longer seen to improve people’s quality of life.


Meaningful Brands helps us to develop this type of relationship by understanding exactly what people expect from brands. It also helps us track how successful companies are responding to these needs by understanding how these companies are contributing to our wellbeing, both as citizens and individuals, and how they communicate these values to us. It also shows us that there’s a big business opportunity for brands which are able to satisfy consumers by creating wellbeing in the context of their new values, expectations and local market realities.


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