Google has been named as the world’s most meaningful brand in this year’s annual Meaningful Brands report, produced by Havas. The report is designed to explore how brands improve the lives of consumers and the role they play in modern society. The comprehensive research piece considers almost 2000 brands in 31 markets and 22 industries, assessing over 40 content types and polling more than 350,000 global citizens.

The research considers that, “A meaningful brand is defined by its impact on our personal and collective wellbeing, along with its functional benefits.”  In deciding what makes a meaningful brand, personal, collective and functional benefits are considered alongside dimensions such as ethics and environment and attributes including time saving, mood boosting, delivering on promises and economic contribution.

The most meaningful brand

While Google was named the number one meaningful brand it won by a narrow margin of just 1.6 points over PayPal. Car maker Mercedes-Benz was the third most meaningful brand in the world, while WhatsApp and YouTube rounded out the top five. Positions three, four and five were separated by less than one point. Other big names in the top 30 include Lego, Toyota, Heinz, Samsung, Nike, Adidas, Colgate, Nestle, Disney and Audi.

Most meaningful industries

The most meaningful industries varied from region to region; in Western Europe, retail, electronics and food were the top three. In Eastern Europe, food, automotive and transport were top while in North America, the most meaningful industries were consumer goods, food and entertainment.

Even in geographically close regions, there were big differences in the industries best serving consumers with meaningful content – Latin America is totally different to North America for example, with its top three most meaningful industries named as travel and tourism, entertainment and food. South East Asia and East Asia also differed, with transport, the Internet and media and travel and tourism rated the best in the former and consumer goods, financial and electronics best in the latter.

Overall, the automotive industry is the best in the world at creating meaningful content for consumers. The electronics sector, travel and tourism industry, consumer goods and food were also in the top five.

The role of meaningful content

As we saw earlier, in order for a brand to be effective, its content needs to resonate with the audience and add value to their life. Very few brands actually achieve this with the content and consumers wouldn’t be bothered if 77% of all brands disappeared as a result. Just 42% of branded content is meaningful. The report findings conclude that meaningful content performs one (or more) of six roles; inspire, educate, entertain, reward, inform or help.

If you need help creating more meaningful content for your brand, get in touch with our team today.