Google retains top spot for seventh year, rankings shift, and Tim Horton re-enters Top 10

Toronto–The Association of Canadian Advertisers (ACA) and Ipsos, in partnership with Publicis unveiled today the Ipsos Most Influential Brands in Canada – a comprehensive study measuring and ranking today’s brands in Canada and the world – at an exclusive event hosted by The Globe and Mail, and held at the Globe and Mail Centre in Toronto with over 300 Marketers in attendance. The 2018 Most Influential Brands study was conducted in 17 countries and evaluates 100+ brands in each country and ranks their influence. Steve Levy, COO at Ipsos announced the ranking, discussing how this year’s brands achieved their status and why brands are influential.

Most Influential Brands in Canada 2018
1. Google (-)
2. Amazon (+2)
3. Apple (-)
4. Facebook (-2)
5. Microsoft (-)
6. YouTube (-)
7. Visa (+1)
8. Netflix (+1)
9. Walmart (-2)
10. Tim Hortons (+6) back in the top 10

“Canada’s most influential brands march to their own drums: their edgy, unconventional nature is what makes them stand out in a crowded, competitive marketplace,” explained Mr. Levy. “They influence how we dress, communicate, travel, shop, spend our free time, celebrate and socialize.”
This year we saw a brand re-enter into the Top Ten – Tim Hortons. Mr. Levy commented that “brands that have experienced challenges, like Tim Hortons, can and do bounce back if they focus on addressing the right issues”.

The Most Influential Brands study examines five key dimensions that drive the most influential brands in Canada: trustworthiness, presence, being leading edge, corporate citizenship and engagement. The study ranks brands according to their influence; this year’s study polled a representative sample of over 6,000 Canadians and more than 34,500 citizens worldwide. Survey findings were analyzed geographically, by gender and across generations including Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z.

Study highlights
Although the Top 10 brands have remained relatively stable over the past seven years, technology-focused companies are rising to the top as social media plays an increasingly important role in brand influence, underscoring that influence takes time to build. The rankings continue to be a combination of digital service/social media, technology, retail and credit card brands. The one factor that many of these have in common is the frequency with which they are used, which results in them being firmly entrenched in day to day life. The most influential brands are important and relevant; consumers identify with and have an emotional reaction to these brands and couldn’t imagine living their life without them.

Google – the world’s most popular Internet search site – ranks No. 1 for the eighth consecutive year, in part by beefing up its hardware business and using its household name to branch out into AI offerings. Amazon’s influence continues to grow, landing it at No. 2. Apple maintains its position as the 3rd most influential brand in Canada in 2018. After a difficult year, Facebook dropped 2 spots to No. 4. Both Microsoft and YouTube stayed put at No. 5 and 6, respectively. Visa advanced one spot to No. 7 meanwhile Netflix, first debuting on the Influence list in 2012, continues to advance coming in at No. 8 this year. Walmart declined 2 positions to No. 9 while Tim Hortons, after some challenges in 2017 and early 2018, regained its position in the Top 10 moving from No. 16 last year to No. 10 in 2018.

Several differences were found to exist by generation; it is important to understand how brands impact generations, so marketers can deliver products and services that cater to generational tastes. Despite varying attitudes and inclination, Google takes a clean sweep for influence across Gen Z, Millennials, Generation X and Boomers.

Generation Z comes of age in a time of political and economic turbulence and for whom technology is paramount. In particular, Netflix is even more influential among this cohort, coming in at No. 4. Similarly, the digital age defines Millennials who love brands like Google, Facebook, Amazon, Youtube and Apple.

Gen X are comfortable melding offline and online worlds, as fans of tech pioneers (Apple and Microsoft), are value-conscious (Walmart). Boomers gravitate to technologies and brands they grew up with and while they have adopted search technology such as Google, also prefer traditional sources such as CBC and Canadian Tire. They are also more influenced by credit card brands such as Visa and MasterCard.

“Moreover, the Most Influential brands don’t just sell a product or service. They promote a strong sense of purpose and shape our world while connecting emotionally with people. Only those that strike the right balance between trustworthiness, engagement, being leading edge, corporate citizenship and presence will truly make an impact with consumers and indeed on the world,” continued Mr. Levy.

“Brand influence is the key driver of action,” said Shannon Lewis, President CMDC. “It is important to celebrate, learn and be inspired by the IPSOS long-standing ‘Most Influential Brands’. It also lends itself to truly appreciate the dynamic, innovative work coming out of our member media agencies steering clients to craft bold, authentic brand campaigns.”

Brett McIntosh, CMO of Publicis Canada, made the point that “as marketers, it is our job to nudge the consumer along a non-linear journey toward purchase. My experience is those brands with strong, existing influence have a much easier time in making this happen. In an always-on, content environment, strong influence sure helps maximize budgets.”

“Successful marketers are continually focused on creating stronger connections with their brands and customers, earning a meaningful place in their busy lives. These are the brands that do that incredibly well,” said Ron Lund, President & CEO, Association of Canadian Advertisers (ACA). “ACA supports this important research, not only because it celebrates the brands on the list, but more importantly because it identifies and sets new benchmarks that move the whole industry forward.”

About the Study
The Most Influential Brands study was conducted in October 2018. The online survey of 6,700 Canadians was conducted using the Ipsos iSay Panel. The results are based on a sample where weighting was employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample’s composition reflects Canada’s adult population according to Census data and results approximated the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval, accurate within +/- 1.3 percentage points, had the entire population of adults in Canada been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Subscriptions to the study are available.

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. Ipsos ranks fourth in the global research industry. Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.

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