Brands Fail to Deliver to Canadians According to Cohn & Wolfe Global Authenticity Index

October 31st, 2017

— Tim Hortons, Google and Canadian Tire top Canada’s list of most authentic brands, study shows —

TORONTO, October 31, 2017 – Canadian consumers consider authenticity to be a key factor in purchase decisions, but companies in Canada lag in delivering on this key element according to the 2017 Authentic 100 Index, an international study released today by global communications agency Cohn & Wolfe. The majority (92 per cent) of Canadian consumers acknowledged that if a company is authentic, it would drive a beneficial behaviour or attitude toward the brand’s business. Furthermore, nearly two in three (60 per cent) Canadians acknowledge increased purchase interest from brands if they are perceived to be authentic.

Canadians’ level of purchase interest driven by brand authenticity is much higher than European consumers in the U.K. (47 per cent), France (49 per cent) or Germany (55 per cent). Conversely, only one in 10 Canadians (11 per cent) think brands and companies today are ‘open and honest’. This is significantly lower brand authenticity perception than the U.S. (16 per cent) and the global average (22 per cent).

“The study showed that Canadians hold brands to higher standards than their peers in other western countries, yet many companies fail to deliver on consumers’ expectations,” says David Gordon, managing partner at Cohn & Wolfe Toronto. “As the research confirms, there’s a strong link between brand authenticity and the ability to attract and retain customers and ultimately propel business growth. The brands that top the Authenticity Index are the ones that are able to master and demonstrate the seven key attributes that build a trusting relationship with the consumer.”

Canada’s top 10 Authentic Brands

Rank Brand Index Score
1 Tim Hortons 150 (85.27)
2 Google 147 (83.32)
3 Canadian Tire 147 (83.31)
4 Disney 147 (83.27)
5 Amazon.com 138 (78.47)
6 WestJet 136 (77.03)
7 Campbells 135 (76.71)
8 Canon 134 (76.24)
9 Shoppers Drug Mart 130 (73.66)
10 Black & Decker 129 (73.34)

The total index score is normalized to 100 and a number above 100 indicates the extent the brand score above the market average. Numbers in brackets are the index score not normalized. For a look at Canada’s 20 most Authentic brands and their ranking visit www.authentic100.com

The Cohn & Wolfe Authentic 100 study consists of responses from 15,000 consumers across 15 markets, including Canada for the first time. The study measures authenticity across a matrix of seven attributes that are the most impactful on consumers’ perception including: (1) delivering on promises (2) high-quality service or product (3) treating customers well and (4) protecting customer privacy; (5) communicating honestly in a (6) genuine and real manner and (7) acting with integrity.

“Brand Authenticity is not just a buzz word, it is a very specific and quantifiable measurement that companies should look into and address if they want to protect their market position and grow,” added Lynn Fisher, EVP, Global Director of the Branding and Insights Group at Cohn & Wolfe, who led the global study. “The Authentic Brand Index provides companies and industries with both a benchmark and analytic tool to measure the authenticity level of their brands and make necessary adjustments to improve.”

Study Trends and Highlights

  • On a global scale by industry, the Retail (63), Food & Beverage (61) and Financial (60) sectors scored the highest level of authenticity level; while Luxury (48), Sport (47) and Industrial & Energy (46) sectors scored the lowest
  • Only 12 per cent of Canadian respondents thought brands stay true to their purpose and take full responsibility for their actions compared to 26 per cent and 25 per cent of the global average respectively
  • Consumers in Asian countries displayed the most positive sentiment towards brand authenticity (43 per cent in mainland China and 37 per cent in India). This juxtaposes with consumer cynicism in Europe where belief in brands’ authenticity in is the single digits

For more information about the 2017 Cohn & Wolfe Authentic 100 and the Canadian rankings, please contact David Gordon at [email protected] or 416-924-5700

About the 2017 Authentic Brands Study
This is the fifth study in the Cohn & Wolfe Authentic Brands series, which examines the role of authenticity in business, the attributes associated with an authentic brand and the impact of authenticity on consumer, investor and employee attitudes and behaviours.

Methodology
The 2017 Authentic Brands study is the result of a combination of primary and secondary research, including surveys on more than 1,400 brands, measuring more than 200 global brands, administered over two months (May to June 2017) to over 15,000 consumers (1001 Canadians) in 15 markets:  Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The full list of more than 1,400 brands included in the Authentic 100 survey was based on an examination of the following reports: BrandZ’s 100 Most Valuable Brands; Forbes’ 100 Most Valuable Brands and the Reputation Institute’s Global RepTrak® 100 Most Reputable Companies list. Cohn & Wolfe also consulted Y&R Group’s BrandAsset® Valuator (BAV) to determine which brands should be included in each country’s surveys, based on regional familiarity. 

About Cohn & Wolfe Canada
Cohn & Wolfe Canada is an award-winning full service communications agency with offices in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver. The agency is part of the Res Publica group of companies and a member of the Cohn & Wolfe global network and WPP (Nasdaq: WPPGY), the world’s largest communications services group.  

Cohn & Wolfe, a global communications agency, builds brands and corporate reputations through an uncompromising commitment to creativity. The agency’s strategic approach unearths fresh, relevant insights leading to communications solutions that deliver measurable business success. Throughout its 45-year history, Cohn & Wolfe’s world-class integrated marketing communications have attracted top brands around the world, winning awards at the Cannes Lions, the Clios, Eurobest, the Global SABREs and the Global PRWeek Awards. Headquartered in New York, Cohn & Wolfe has more than 50 offices across Asia, EMEA, Latin America and North America, and has been named Agency of the Year by The Holmes Report and ICCO, as well as a Best Place to Work by The Holmes Report, PRWeek and PRNews. Cohn & Wolfe is part of WPP (Nasdaq: WPPGY), the world’s largest communications services group.