Tim Horton’s evokes a strong, almost nationalistic attachment, leaving Canada’s long-time icon—the beaver—with just a little gnawing concern. President’s Choice transformed a mundane household activity into an innovative and exciting experience for Canadians across the nation. (And in the words of Steve Levy, Ipsos Reid research company’s president: “Nothing says trustworthy like someone who can deliver a chocolate chip cookie and banking service.”)
According to the latest poll, both of these brands make up some of the most influential brands in the country.
So what exactly does it take for a brand to have influence?
It’s got to have “punch,” it’s got to have personality and it’s got to connect with people. In fickle markets where trends come and go, influential brands have staying power.
Researchers at Ipsos Reid found that if brands want to build and maintain their influence, they need to have the following six factors:
- A Leading Edge Position
- Corporate Citizenship
- Engagement with their Consumers
Ipsos’ study revealed a list of 100 companies that Canadians said most influenced them. Of that list, here are the top 10 influencers:
- President’s Choice
- Air Miles
(Timmy’s, by the way, comes in at #15.)
Technology and media companies make up over half the list – not a big surprise when you consider the impact they are having on the way we connect with one another. And you can’t help but notice the absence of beer and car companies, who both spend oodles of money on advertising.
The companies on the list may all be “big players,” that doesn’t mean that there’s not plenty for small businesses to glean from their success. You don’t have to be a mogul to have influence and you don’t have to be in the business of technology or media.
Ask yourself the following questions to shed some light on how influential your brand is.
- Are you making your customers aware of something new? Are you seen as being leading edge or breaking the mould?
- Do you anticipate your customers’ needs and if something goes wrong, do you make it right?
- Are you changing their everyday life in in some way? Does your product appeal to the “here and now” not the “said and done.”
- Are you part of their everyday life? Are they seeing your brand on a daily basis through, say, advertising and social media?
- Are you a good corporate citizen who does good things for the environment, for the community and people in general?
- Does your brand connect with your customers? Can they engage with it and does it instill a sense of emotion?
Were you able to answer “yes” to each one of the questions? If so, it’s a good sign that your brand is influential and your customers can’t help falling in love with you.
If your responses weren’t so positive, your brand might just may be heading toward the kiss of death.
See the top 100 list of the 2012 Most Influential Brands in Canada on the Ipsos Reid website. It’s an interesting list!