In the face of competition from agile, mission-inflected challenger brands, large incumbent brands are adopting campaigns that reflect the social good they provide to ward off the perception of valueless corporatism; a new survey shows why this is important.

An Axios/Harris poll (based on a survey of 6,118 US adults,) asked respondents to identify the two companies they believed to have the best and worst reputations, alongside 20 years of Harris research on brand reputation finds that brands making commitments toward bettering society are gaining the most momentum.

According to Axios, however, these purposes aren’t merely the campaign-based one-off drive to help a charity or cause. For instance, Amazon ranks very highly at number 2, helped by its focus on making as many aspects of its customers’ lives simpler. Similarly, Samsung’s (7th) position as a leader in AI constitutes a broader purpose that has propelled the brand.

Top 10:

  1. Wegmans
  2. Amazon
  3. Patagonia
  4. L. Bean
  5. Walt Disney
  6. Publix
  7. Samsung
  8. Procter & Gamble
  9. Microsoft
  10. Sony
In contrast, Google and Facebook rank relatively low – 41st and 94th respectively. A negative position in the news cycle with little larger purpose with which to respond are both part of the duopoly’s low positions.  

While impact or cause-related marketing is not a recent phenomenon, the study suggests that a larger raison d’etre, built up over the long term, can lead to a positive position in the minds of consumers.

At the campaign level, WARC’s Effective Use of Brand Purpose Report, based on the 2018 WARC Awards, revealed that TV is a crucial channel that combines both reach and emotion really effectively. Though online video and social media play a key supporting role, consumers are more likely to become aware of a mission through a mass-reach channel.

At Unilever, brands with purpose were found to provide as much as 70% of the total company’s growth, with those brands growing 46% faster than others.

Sourced from Axios/Harris, WARC