How Companies Can Achieve Brand Influence

What makes a brand influential? How do you get your brand across through the clutter of constant advertising in a multi-screen, multi-media world?

Darren Freeman, Research Director of Ipsos Taiwan, an independent market research company, addressed those questions in a June 9 luncheon presentation, “The Drivers of Brand Influence in Taiwan,” sponsored by AmCham Taipei’s Marketing & Distribution Committee and held at Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel.

Today, a brand’s influence and its interaction with the target market are considered critical to measuring brand performance. A truly influential brand, Freeman noted, has a tangible impact on people’s lives. It offers a gateway to a better, more interesting life by giving people the tools to make smart choices. An influential brand is not just about selling a product; it stands for something and encourages change.

Ipsos has conducted its annual Top 100 Most Influential Brands study in markets around the world for almost a decade. Last year was the fifth year that Taiwan was included in the study, which measures five key dimensions that drive brand influence: corporate citizenship, engagement, leading edge, presence, and trustworthiness.

Topping the list of the 10 most influential brands in Taiwan last year:
Google, followed by Facebook, Line, YouTube, 7-Eleven, PX Mart, Microsoft, Apple, Chunghwa Post, and Visa.

The 2016 Most Influential Brands study found that trust remains the cornerstone of brand influence in Taiwan. Trustworthiness contributes one-third of brand influence for the top 10 most influential brands. Consumer engagement has room for improvement in Taiwan: while it comprises 29% of brand influence globally, consumer engagement accounts for only 12% of brand influence in Taiwan.

As to how to get one’s message across despite the media clutter, Freeman advised that advertising and other branding efforts must connect with people’s lives to be relevant and well-received. It is no longer enough, he noted, to focus only on product benefits to differentiate a brand. He views every brand’s “touchpoint” (interaction with consumers) as an opportunity to strengthen or weaken brand influence. Above all, he stressed, know your consumer. “Dig deeper into people’s journeys,” Freeman said. “If you don’t know who they are, you can’t influence them.”

Marketing & Distribution Committee Chair, Gordon Stewart and guest speaker Darren Freeman, Research Director of Ipsos Taiwan

Contacted after the presentation, Gordon Stewart, co-chair of the Marketing & Distribution Committee and Managing Director of Independent Marketing & Research Limited, noted that clear vision and understanding of one’s brand in the larger market is crucial to achieving successful branding. “Many marketers could benefit greatly by learning from the lessons outlined in this interesting study,” he said. “The future of most of our businesses relies a great deal upon the strength, or influence, of our brands.”

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