Brands that are able to inspire their customers are more likely to succeed when it comes to driving significant brand growth, according to new research.
The ‘Inspiring Growth’ study conducted by Wunderman Thompson, finds that 72% customers want brands to be inspirational, however, only 53% of customers experience brand inspiration, presenting a substantial “inspiration gap” that offers major growth opportunities for brands.
As part of the study, Wunderman Thompson has developed a proprietary diagnostic tool, the Inspire Score, that ranks of the top 100 inspiring brands in the world today.
‘Inspiring Growth’ – key findings
• The report finds that while growth is normally determined by brand ‘awareness’, inspiration is a far better predictor of growth
• Wunderman Thompson reveals a brand’s ability to inspire can drive market share growth.
• The report finds that inspiration predicts 63% of the variation in consumer demand for brands
• Inspiration also predicts 52% of brands’ ability to command higher prices, and 48% of brands’ ability to convert customers at the point of purchase
The rigorous three-phased study involved academic research, a proprietary BrandZ™ data set studying over 33,000 brands in 183 categories across 45 markets over the past six years and a survey of 4,000 respondents, to identify the qualities a brand must embody, the stories it should tell and the experiences it can design in order to inspire people.
It finds that while brands may be inspiring, they are not doing enough. Customers want brands to be inspirational (72%), but only 53% experience brand inspiration, presenting a significant ‘inspiration gap’ that offers major growth opportunities for brands.
The study reveals two ways in which inspiration can drive brand growth; growing market share faster and charging a premium for products and services. Inspiration predicts 63% of a brand’s ability to drive demand, 52% of brands’ ability to command higher prices, and 48% of brands’ ability to convert customers at the point of purchase.
Growth is not just determined by whether people think of brands or their value, but also by what they think of them. While awareness is always an important goal, the study proves that inspiration is a far better predictor of growth and ultimately, the next stage of the marketing evolution.
Mel Edwards, Global CEO, Wunderman Thompson, said: “The launch of the study comes at a hugely significant time. Our mission is to inspire growth for ambitious brands, it’s at the heart of our business and this could not be more relevant today. Brands face immense challenges to grow amongst the economic downturn effects of the pandemic. However, amongst a backdrop of uncertainty, our Inspiring Growth study unearths the power of inspiration as a strategy for growth, presenting a significant opportunity for brands that perhaps was once overlooked.”
As part of the study, Wunderman Thompson developed a proprietary diagnostic tool, the Inspire Score, that ranks the top 100 inspiring brands in the world today, as well as the top brands in more than 45 markets globally. Each year this ranking will be updated to track and analyse the brands that are best at inspiring their customers. This year, Amazon leads, motivating millions of people across the world to think differently as they discover and experience new products and services. Followed by Samsung and Apple respectively, both successful at connecting people to new things and elevating people’s lives to be better.
Richard Dunn, EMEA Chief Strategy Officer and co-creator of Inspiring Growth, Wunderman Thompson said: “The Inspire Score has proven to be an excellent predictor of growth and while small brands have a lot to gain from growing theirs, big brands have a lot to lose from letting theirs fall. In today’s volatile climate, the study proves that brands can ignite change, making people see new possibilities and compelling them to act on new ideas and perspectives, creating experiences that resonate with a person’s values and motivating people to reach their personal goals. As a result, consumers adopt new behaviours that make them feel good about themselves.”
Key insights from the report include:
• A brand’s category has a strong effect on inspiration, with technology brands performing extremely well and financials under-represented.
• There is a significant difference between categories and regions. Brazilians are most inspired by brands; while people in the United Kingdom, are the least.
• Brands have been most successful at being Motivating, helping them “discover new things” and “bring new ideas/suggestions.”
• Between categories, brands inspire in different ways. Technology brands tend to inspire by broadening horizons. Retail brands score relatively high on helping people discover new things, while personal care brands do well in creating inspirational experiences.
• Consumers in China and Brazil are more likely to experience a shift in behaviour or attitude as a result of brand inspiration.
• Mission and brand behaviour are important sources of inspiration.
The in-depth study is based on a rigorous, multidimensional research and analytical methodology across four continents. The study consisted of four initiatives:
• Interviews: WT conducted in-depth interviews with leading academics, including Todd Thrash, a respected authority on inspiration; marketing experts across multiple categories; and online surveys in the United States, the United Kingdom, China and Brazil. These interviews enabled WT to define the parameters of inspiration and how to quantify it
• Quantitative: WT conducted a major new survey using SONAR™, Wunderman Thompson’s proprietary market research tool. It reached 4,000 people aged 18+, split evenly by gender and market, across the United States, the United Kingdom, China and Brazil. WT also conducted a mobile survey to better understand both natural and prompted vernacular used on the topic The data collected runs from January to October 2020.
Statistical modelling: Based on this research WT identified inspirational brand attributes within the Kantar BrandZ™ data set. BrandZ™ covers 33,000 brands in 183 categories and 45 markets. This data set enabled WT to create an Inspire Score that measures the strength of brand inspiration and its impact on growth.
In addition to these initiatives, WT performed a number of studies to round out and confirm results, including secondary research across multiple academic disciplines and social listening analysis using neuro-linguistic programming. WT also investigated conversations around inspiring brands to see how inspirational language functions in a brand context and furthers our understanding of what makes brands inspiring.
About WT Inspire
WT Inspire is a global research initiative that uncovers a never-before-identified connection between brand growth and human inspiration. Putting inspiration at the heart of everything we do, we have designed a suite of services rooted in consumer data that empowers brands to inspire customers to react in new ways, and in turn build better business. The foundation of WT Inspire is a rigorous, multi-dimensional research methodology, including