Online giant Google is the most influential brand in Australia, beating out big names such as Coles, Woolworths, Visa and Telstra, according to an Ipsos study.
The survey, conducted by Ipsos iView, asked 1000 respondents to evaluate 10 brands out of a list of 100 based on a range of key metrics and statements.
Based on these survey responses, the brands were given a score based on customer engagement, trustworthiness, whether or not they were seen as being ‘leading edge’, corporate citizenship and presence.
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Google topped the list, followed by Microsoft, Facebook, Woolworths, eBay, Coles, Apple, Australia Post, Visa and Telstra. The top 15 were rounded out by Bunnings, YouTube, MasterCard, Samsung and McDonald’s.
The latest survey comes after a study published in May found Google has overtaken Apple as the world’s most valuable brand.
The Ipsos study also found consumers rate brands differently depending on industry.
Media (40%) and tech (35%) brands generally were seen as the most leading edge, while aircraft (26%) and retail (22%) rated poorly in this category.
Not surprisingly, media brands rated highly for consumer engagement (34%), the opposite of consumer packaged goods brands (25%) and tech companies (26%).
However, consumer packaged goods brands were seen as the most trustworthy (31%), a metric media (14%) and telco companies (20%) scored poorly on.
Aircraft brands were seen as the best corporate citizens (19%) while the gas and tech sectors fared poorly (7% each). Meanwhile, the retail and telco sectors gained credit for their physical presence (10%) while electronics and aircraft brands didn’t.
Ipsos researcher Gillian O’Sullivan told SmartCompany the Australian version of the study had twice the number of local brands identifying as highly influential brands compared to most other countries that participated in the study.
“The implications for small businesses in Australia is that they can become influential within their own local communities and in fact have the power to be far more influential at a local level than the big corporates,” says O’Sullivan.
“The strong influence that local real estate offices and local branches of Bendigo Bank have comes to mind.”
“However, to achieve this, small businesses must be willing to invest money in supporting local initiatives and they need to ensure these initiatives are communicated broadly; they need to spread the word about the good work they are doing,” says O’Sullivan.
“Australians love a successful local entrepreneur, particularly one that is willing to give something back to those that helped them be successful.”
But independent brand expert Michel Hogan told SmartCompany warns small business owners to be careful about putting too much stock in the survey.
“It’s massively subjective,” says Hogan. “What I feel is trustworthy is not what someone else trusts. Our scales are different.”
“Brand fundamentally comes down to life experience. Only through direct experience can you see how well a brand – and the organisation behind that brand – keeps its promises,” she says.
“Whether 1000 people were able to give a direct quantifiable score about all the brands based on personal experience should be taken with a grain of salt.”
Despite the scepticism, Hogan notes that the top three brands identified by the survey – Google, Microsoft and Facebook – are brands most people in the survey would engage with every day.
“Google is pretty rigorous about being Google first. They don’t pander to other things in the marketplace – they stick to their promises,” says Hogan.
“And in the big convoluted picture of what makes a brand successful, a key part is keeping promises… In the case of Google, helping people to find information is core to their promise.”