NEW YORK: Tech brands topped Cohn & Wolfe’s Authentic 100 list this year, with Amazon
taking the number one spot.
Apple, Microsoft, Google, and PayPal were also in the top five. Cohn & Wolfe began the study last year, when several of the same tech brands had a top showing on the list. The top 10 was rounded out with Adidas, Intel, Lego, BMW, and HP, putting seven tech brands among the most authentic global brands.
"Technology is an integral part of our everyday lives, so tech brands are constantly top of mind," said Lynn Fisher, EVP and global director of the branding and insights group at Cohn & Wolfe. "Our study shows that brands that rank high on authenticity have stronger, more enduring customer relationships, which in turn lead to better business performance."
The "authentic" label on a brand is more than just a good perception. Of consumers around the globe surveyed for the study, 91% said they are willing to reward a brand for its authenticity with a purchase, investment, endorsement, or something similar. Sixty two percent said they would purchase from a brand they view as authentic.
However, when asked if brands are seen as "open and honest," only 16% of U.S. consumers agreed, a 7% drop since last year.
For non-tech brands wanting to reach that same authentic perception, Fisher recommended actively trying to make consumers’ lives easier.
"People view our top-ranked technology brands as genuinely wanting to deliver new ways to make people’s lives better and easier to manage," Fisher explained. "Non-technology brands can accomplish the kind of authenticity enjoyed by these technology brands if they embrace and deliver on business objectives that not only improve their bottom lines, but also seek to make life better for people in a holistic way."
This is particularly true for millennials. The survey found that millennials look for personal attention, innovation, and social consciousness, while Gen Xers and Baby Boomers focus on their personal relationships with a company when evaluating authenticity.
The survey uses three markers for authenticity: reliable, respectful, and real. Last year, reliability was most important, but respect has overtaken it this year, showing consumers value a mutually respectful relationship with a company.
In the inaugural Authentic 100 study released last year, Disney placed number one, with BMW, Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple in the top five.
The study surveyed more than 15,000 consumers in 15 markets between May and June. Consumers were asked their opinions on more than 1,400 brands including more than 200 global brands. It’s part of the firm’s larger 2017 Authentic Brands Study series.