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Brands and retailers need to be more inspiring if they want to grow, study warns

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To drive growth, brands need to be inspiring – but a new study suggests that there is a yawning chasm between the need to inspire and actually delivering it, which is hitting growth for many companies.

According to a three-phased study by Wunderman Thompson brands may be inspiring, they are not doing enough. Customers want brands to be inspirational (72%), but only 53% experience brand inspiration, presenting a significant ‘inspiration gap’ that offers major growth opportunities for brands.

The study reveals two ways in which inspiration can drive brand growth; growing market share faster and charging a premium for products and services. Inspiration predicts 63% of a brand’s ability to drive demand, 52% of brands’ ability to command higher prices, and 48% of brands’ ability to convert customers at the point of purchase.

Growth is not just determined by whether people think of brands or their value, but also by what they think of them. While awareness is always an important goal, the study proves that inspiration is a far better predictor of growth and ultimately, the next stage of the marketing evolution.

The study also finds that brand categories have a massive impact on how brands and retailers inspire and the level of success they achieve. It is also dependent on geographical market.

The study finds that brands have been most successful at being motivating, helping them “discover new things” and “bring new ideas/suggestions,” but it depends on what they sell. Technology brands tend to inspire by broadening horizons. Retail brands score relatively high on helping people discover new things, while personal care brands do well in creating inspirational experiences.

Regional differences also exist. Brazilians are most inspired by brands; while people in the United Kingdom, are the least. Consumers in China and Brazil are more likely to experience a shift in behaviour or attitude as a result of brand inspiration. Mission and brand behaviour are important sources of inspiration.

Mel Edwards, Global CEO, Wunderman Thompson, explains: “The launch of the study comes at a hugely significant time. Our mission is to inspire growth for ambitious brands, it’s at the heart of our business and this could not be more relevant today. Brands face immense challenges to grow amongst the economic downturn effects of the pandemic. However, amongst a backdrop of uncertainty, our Inspiring Growth study unearths the power of inspiration as a strategy for growth, presenting a significant opportunity for brands that perhaps was once overlooked.”

As part of the study, Wunderman Thompson developed a proprietary diagnostic tool, the Inspire Score, that ranks the top 100 inspiring brands in the world today, as well as the top brands in more than 45 markets globally. Each year this ranking will be updated to track and analyse the brands that are best at inspiring their customers. 

This year, Amazon leads, motivating millions of people across the world to think differently as they discover and experience new products and services. Followed by Samsung and Apple respectively, both successful at connecting people to new things and elevating people’s lives to be better. 

Richard Dunn, EMEA Chief Strategy Officer and co-creator of Inspiring Growth, Wunderman Thompson adds: “The Inspire Score has proven to be an excellent predictor of growth and while small brands have a lot to gain from growing theirs, big brands have a lot to lose from letting theirs fall. In today’s volatile climate, the study proves that brands can ignite change, making people see new possibilities and compelling them to act on new ideas and perspectives, creating experiences that resonate with a person’s values and motivating people to reach their personal goals. As a result, consumers adopt new behaviours that make them feel good about themselves.”

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