The Secret Sauce to Creating an Influential Brand

February 27th, 2020 | Jessica Yared, Digital Marketing Manager, ACA

The full house at the Most Influential Brands event at the Globe and Mail Centre

In a packed room of almost 400 marketers at The Globe and Mail Centre in Toronto this month, Steve Levy, COO at Ipsos, unveiled the Most Influential Brands in Canada of 2019.

“They are dominant, persuasive, important and prominent. They go beyond simply being a brand, as they possess the exceptional ability to connect with Canadian consumers,” explained Levy of the brands that made the list.

Now in its 9th year, Ipsos Most Influential Brands study was conducted in 16 countries and evaluated over 100 brands. A representative sample of almost 35,000 people worldwide were polled, with 6,000 of those being Canadian.

Here are the top ten Most Influential Brands in Canada of 2019:

#10 – VISA
#09 – Walmart
#08 – Samsung
#07 – Netflix
#06 – YouTube
#05 – Apple
#04 – Microsoft
#02 – Amazon + Facebook (tied)
#01 – Google

But what exactly are the ingredients that go into making a brand influential?

Dimensions Driving Influence: Engagement, Trustworthy, Leading Edge, Presence, Corporate Citizenship

Ipsos identifies five levers of influence: trustworthiness, engagement, being leading edge, corporate citizenship and presence. The ‘secret sauce’ is actually different for every brand, and while most brands don’t rate for all five characteristics, they usually index heavily on at least two or three.

No local Canadian brands made it into the global top ten this year, though there were seven in the top twenty. What are local Canadian brands lacking? While they have no shortage of trustworthiness, according to the study, they index low in being leading edge.

But one local Canadian brand, PC Optimum, reached #12 on the list in just its first year, indexing high for engagement, trustworthiness and being leading edge. Indeed, 39% of those polled indicated that the brand had changed the way they shop.

Sign shows Run Lund, President & CEO of ACA

“Brands that are successful at creating an impact in their customers’ lives are those that are trustworthy and engaging. This is at the crux of what being named a ‘most influential brand’ is about, said Ron Lund, President & CEO of ACA.

Another characteristic of the most influential brands is harmony across the generations. Brands must be able to speak to and appeal to Baby Boomers, Generation X-ers, Millennials and Generation Z-ers alike – no easy feat for any brand. But nine of the top 10 brands all possess generational harmony. Among local Canadian brands successful at this are Tim Hortons, Chapters Indigo and RBC.

But what makes Google our country’s most influential brand for the eighth year in a row? Firstly, the brand indexes highly on being leading edge, being trustworthy and having presence. But perhaps most striking is the fact that 40% of Canadians polled said that the brand introduced them to something they never knew they needed. What brand wouldn’t want to be able to lay claim to that attribute?

Levy ended his presentation by stating seven take-aways from the study:

  1. Influential brands are worth more
  2. Brands that provide assistance have an edge
  3. Influential brands listen to their customers and encourage authentic dialogue
  4. Privacy, in some respects, is taking a backseat to convenience
  5. The current landscape is very complicated – everyone seems to be competing with each other
  6. To be very influential, a brand needs to develop generational harmony
  7. Brands must never forget the context within which they live

For more information on the study, read a summary of the results.