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Research reveals only 5% of UK brands have a positive impact on quality of life

By The Drum Team, Editorial



Microsoft article

November 9, 2011 | 6 min read

Global research by Havas Media has found that only 5% of UK brands have a noticeable positive impact on our sense of wellbeing and quality of life. Furthermore, the research reveals that the majority of people in the UK would not care if 91% of brands no longer existed. The results from the rest of the world show that only 20% of global brands noticeably improve quality of life.

Global Results Overview

The research was conducted in 14 markets - UK, US, Spain, Germany, France, Italy, India, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, China & Japan – and encompassed 50,000 consumers, 300 brands and 12 industry sectors. In the UK, the research covered 20 brands and 2,700 consumers were surveyed.
Havas Media has launched its Meaningful Brands global index and analysis in response to these findings. The Meaningful Brand Index measurement uses consumer perception to compare and track the impact brands have on our lives. The results show a direct relationship between a brand’s MBi score and the level of consumer attachment. That is, the greater the contribution the brand has to our wellbeing - measured by the value it creates for individuals, communities and the environment - the larger role it will have in people’s lives and the more meaningful it becomes.The MBi measures 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 wellbeing, that is, how brands help to improve communities, societies and the environment. The MBi results will help marketers challenge traditional branding approaches and rethink how they define and measure “brand value”.The UK results of the research found that 28% of UK citizens say they would pay 10% more for socially and environmentally responsible goods. 81% of people surveyed in the UK feel that it is the responsibility of companies, rather than the government, to solve social and environmental issues. These findings suggest that there is a huge opportunity and demand in the UK to increase the impact of brands on individual wellbeing and quality of life, with two thirds of UK consumers feeling more positively towards companies who are involved in these issues.According to the Meaningful Brand Index, the top 10 meaningful UK brands are as follows:
  1. Marks & Spencer
  2. Sainsbury’s
  3. Unilever
  4. Tesco
  5. Walmart (Asda)
  6. Mars
  7. Danone
  8. O2
  9. Starbucks
  10. Wrigley
When it comes to expectations of improving our personal wellbeing and quality of life, the results in the UK show a staggering 95% of brands in the UK are underperforming. Alongside the US, this is the highest global figure. This reveals a huge opportunity for brands. To some extent this is being realised by brands in sectors such as food and drink and retail which are both high performers at delivering emotional wellbeing; food and drink brands also perform well on an individual’s physical wellbeing, with retailers over performing on environmental issues. According to UK consumers, most brands in the financial and utilities sector underperform in helping us improve our daily lives and individual wellbeing.Retail is the most successful sector, scoring well on collective wellbeing, alongside consumer goods. Both sectors come in strongly on the more collective issues such as society, community and environment. Personal efforts to protect, reuse, reduce and recycle come up as key drivers for people when ranking retail brands. The food and drink sector scores well on emotional values such as feeling happy and satisfied with life.When looking into brands’ impact on our sense of collective wellbeing (communities/ societies/environment), there is a general decline across the board in terms of perception of brand initiatives in this area. This is perhaps understandable with many brands retreating from specific communication of their environmental credentials in the face of increased economic pressures. This represents an opportunity for brands to stand out in this area especially in those sectors where this would represent ‘new news’, such as for the drinks sector or for telecoms companies. The results show that O2 has made some gains in this area over the last year, with UK citizens caring more about the brand and rating it highly on contributing to a higher quality of life. There has been a dramatic downturn for the oil and energy sector’s contribution to more collective issues. The BP oil spill disaster and its effect on consumer perceptions of the brand, is a stark example of how aware the general population can be of the environmental impacts of global companies.Despite these trends, the analysis demonstrates how some brands have been able to break free from these industry limitations. There are brands with exceptionally high MBi scores in low scoring sectors. Again, O2 scores well in this area registering significantly higher than average MBi scores in the UK. Auto brands in the UK also do well in terms of their contribution to our individual and collective wellbeing – despite the auto sector's general trend. This is mainly down to auto brands’ efforts to help British consumers with their fuel efficiency.The top 20 global brands according to the Index are:
  1. IKEA
  2. Google
  3. Nestle
  4. Danone
  5. Leroy Merlin
  6. Samsung
  7. Microsoft
  8. Sony
  9. Unilever
  10. Bimbo
  11. LG
  12. Philips
  13. Apple
  14. P & G
  15. Mars
  16. Volkswagen
  17. L’Oreal
  18. Walmart
  19. Carrefour
  20. Coca Cola
  21. Key Global Results

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Havas SA is a French multinational advertising and public relations company, headquartered in Paris, France. Havas operates in more than 100 countries.

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