The Magical Mix That Makes These Brands So Influential

April 5th, 2018 | ACA Team, Association of Canadian Advertisers

Steve Levy, COO Ipsos Canada, gives opening remarks during the Ipsos Most Influential Brands in Canada in 2018 event at the Globe and Mail Centre in Toronto.
Steve Levy, COO Ipsos Canada, gives opening remarks during the Ipsos Most Influential Brands in Canada in 2018 event at the Globe and Mail Centre in Toronto.
Photo credit: Nick Iwanyshyn

This is the first of a two-part recap of the Ipsos Most Influential Brands presentation. Next week we’ll cover the unique challenges, and advantages of building brands in Canada, and how Google and Facebook are managing the responsibility that comes with influence.

Being leading edge, trustworthy and engaging, having presence and being a good corporate citizen. These are the things that make brands influential and drive bottom-line performance.

And once again in 2017, Google is the brand that does it best in Canada, according to new research from Ipsos.

The market research firm unveiled its 7th annual Top 10 Most Influential Brands in Canada list at a special presentation co-sponsored by the ACA in Toronto last week, which included shared insights and advice from brands like Canadian Tire, Hudson’s Bay, Facebook, Google and Samsung – whose CMO Mark Child’s discussed the phone maker’s recovery from its smartphone recall crisis.

Ipsos measures and ranks brands, identifies why they are leading, how they are perceived across generations and what impact they have on society that makes them so significant to consumers.

ACA President and CEO Ron Lund addresses the audience at the Ipsos Most Influential Brands in Canada in 2018 event at the Globe and Mail Centre in Toronto.
ACA President and CEO Ron Lund addresses the audience at the Ipsos Most Influential Brands in Canada in 2018 event at the Globe and Mail Centre in Toronto.
Photo credit: Nick Iwanyshyn

“I have to tell you that influence does matter,” said Ipsos Canada COO Steve Levy as he opened the presentation. He pointed to a chart that contrasted the performance of influential brands against the stock market since 2011, with the former showing significantly better growth in recent years. “Influential brands are worth more, a lot more and consistently so,” he said.

“When we talk about influence, what we’re talking about is being embedded in the lives of our consumers,” said ACA President and CEO Ron Lund. “Every marketer is laser-focused on generating stronger connections to their customers and earning a meaningful place in their busy lives. These brands do that incredibly well.”

While tech brands are rising to the top of the list, the differentiator for most of the influential brands is they have an important place in the daily lives of consumers; people have an emotional reaction to them and can’t imagine their lives without them.

This year’s study polled a representative sample of more than 6,000 Canadians and more than 35,000 citizens worldwide. Survey findings were analyzed geographically, by gender and across generations including Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z.

“This is a way to not only celebrate great brands but to identify and share greatness, and to set new standards and benchmarks that move the whole industry forward,” Lund said.

Different brands achieve influence in different ways, and to different degrees with different generations, said Levy. “If there is one thing that we have learned it’s that it is really tough for any brand to generate influence”

Tough, but for Google this is the 6th consecutive year atop the list, and it was also the most influential across generational segments. “It’s that magic mix of being leading edge, being trustworthy and having a healthy dose of engagement,” said Levy.

Right behind Google on the list was Facebook and Apple. Rounding out the top 10 this year were Amazon, Microsoft, YouTube, Walmart, Visa, Netflix and Samsung. It was Netflix’s first time in the top 10. And after a drop in the rankings last year following the brand crisis over its overheating (and even exploding) Galaxy Note 7 phones in 2016, Samsung bounced all the way back into the top 10.

“This was a brand that was incredibly challenged in 2016. But also a brand that did a whole bunch of things in 2017 that put it right,” said Levy.

In an on-stage Q&A following Levy’s presentation, Samsung’s Canadian marketer Mark Childs talked about the steps Samsung had taken to rebuild the brand.

Susan Krashinsky Robertson, Media and Marketing Reporter for The Globe and Mail, interviews Mark Childs, CMO, Samsung Electronics Canada.
Susan Krashinsky Robertson, Media and Marketing Reporter for The Globe and Mail, interviews Mark Childs, CMO, Samsung Electronics Canada.
Photo credit: Nick Iwanyshyn

“The situation was unprecedented,” said Childs, adding that the company counted more than 10 billion negative impressions during the crisis.

“2017 was a journey of coming back,” he said. That required full transparency, disclosure and listening carefully to what customers said. Early on, Samsung started to think in terms of how they would react if they were their customers.

“That was our compass for the whole journey: what would we do if this was us.” Which was why, when news broke that the Note 7 would not be allowed on flights, Samsung deployed brand ambassadors to airports within 48 hours to provide customers a new temporary phone for their travels and set them up with a replacement.