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The 10 most influential brands in Australia – Facebook, Microsoft and Google in top three

Social & Digital

The 10 most influential brands in Australia – Facebook, Microsoft and Google in top three


In this guest post, Gillian O’Sullivan reveals the 10 most influential brands in Australia and delves into how these brands have stood out from the crowd. This diverse list of brands is heavy in the technology and online space, but more traditional brands such as supermarket chains also get a mention.

From the technology we use, to the food we eat, to the kind of car we drive, we turn to brands to help us through our daily lives. And while some brands help us fulfil needs and desires, others say something about ourselves, projecting and adding to our own identity, personal brand and sense of being. But with so many brands in the market, there are a select number that stand out as having much more influence over us than others.

So why does influence count? Strong brands have meaning, personality and even attitude. And because people identify with and relate to them, brands also have the power to influence people in a number of ways and therefore the broader market.

Ipsos decided to investigate what these brands are and, most importantly, what characterises these brands against others. The result is our inaugural ‘Most Influential Brands’ study. This is the first time we have conducted a study of this kind – to determine brand influence – in Australia and the results may surprise you.

We asked consumers across the globe, including Australia, about the major local and global brands, how they view them, the way they interact with them in their daily lives and how they rate them on a variety of dimensions that drive influence (see breakout).

We started by identifying 100 well-known brands in the Australian market, including in the list household name global businesses, such as Google and IBM, and Australian icons such as Weetbix and Woolworths. After establishing a list, we asked Australian consumers about these brands – how they view them, the way they interact with them in their daily lives and how they rate them on a variety of dimensions that make a brand influential. Without further ado, here are the Top 10 Most Influential Brands in Australia. Let’s take a closer look at the reasons they stood out from the crowd to deserve a place in the top 10.


10. Telstra

Telstra’s rank is driven first and foremost by its presence in the marketplace. With its origins dating back to the turn of the 20th century, Telstra is an established iconic Australian brand. There is a high degree of familiarity and recognition of the brand. Most importantly, Telstra is not only seen as a brand with a solid history, but also as a brand with a promising future. Consistency in messaging has resulted in confidence in the brand, and a view that Telstra continues to lead its competitors. Presence and competitive edge adds up to Telstra being a very influential Australian brand.


9. Visa

Visa, and its tagline ‘It’s everywhere you want to be’, means that Visa has presence. It is a brand that has forever changed the consumer landscape, more so than any of its competitors. Visa is an influential brand first and foremost, because it is leading edge; it leads its competitors, it shapes consumer behaviour and it stands out from the crowd. Operating in a sector where brand trust is weak, Visa stands out as also being a trustworthy brand.


8. Australia Post

Australia Post is a brand the influence of which is first and foremost driven by the trust that the Australian public has in it. It is a brand that meets its community service obligations. More than any brand in the 100-brand list, ‘it is a brand that inspires a sense of Australian pride’. Australia Post is a brand with heritage on its side, but like all influential brands, it continues to be an important brand in the world today.


7. Apple

This is a brand that Australians view as a trendsetter, an innovator, an iconic brand that is leading edge with a strong future. And with the continual launch of new products and updates, this is a brand that holds consumer interest. It influences because it is a game-changer – it has forever changed the way people engage with one another. Excitement around Apple has not waned and consumers can’t wait to see what it will introduce next. Apple has set itself as the benchmark to which other brands are compared.


6. Coles

Coles leads all other brands in sheer presence – it is a brand you see everywhere. Celebrating its 100th year this year, Coles is also a brand that inspires a sense of Australian pride. Consumers shop there regularly and feel that Coles understands their needs. This all adds up to making it a very influential brand.


5. eBay

eBay is influential because it created a new marketplace need. Almost one-third (30 percent) of those surveyed said eBay ‘introduced me to something I never knew I needed’. From its first auction item listed, a broken laser pointer, to its most expensive item sold to date, a Gulfstream II Jet sold for US$4.9 million, eBay’s unique business model has forever changed the consumer landscape for the buying and selling of goods and services. It is no surprise that this company has changed the way people shop and created a new way for people to be their own boss (or just make some extra cash), which has helped make eBay the fifth most influential brand in Australia.


4. Woolworths

With its wide network of supermarkets across the country, Woolworths touches most Australians. Woolworths is influential not only because it is so well-recognised – 67 percent say it advertises a lot – but also because it is recognised for its support of local communities, its environmental responsibility and because Woolworths understands consumer needs. This all leads to high trust in the brand.


3. Facebook

Did you ‘Like’ anything today? With so many people and so many brands connecting through Facebook on a daily basis, it is no surprise that this is one of our most influential brands. Facebook’s influence is driven largely from being viewed as leading edge. Facebook is also seen as a trendsetter that has forever changed the consumer landscape. It is a medium for sharing and connecting with others, including connecting with other brands. It is Facebook’s ability to connect and engage with people that underpins its success and influence.


2. Microsoft

Microsoft is seen as innovative, more so than any other brand in the 100 brand list. Microsoft scores in at number two because it is everything to everyone. It is leading edge, consumers trust the brand, they engage with it and it is part of their daily lives. It is an exciting brand, people can’t wait to see what Microsoft will introduce next. It has presence, it is reliable, relevant to all and continues to get better. At this point in time, it seems Microsoft can do no wrong. A brand that is as strong as this deserves to be one of our most influential brands.


1. Google

Google is a brand that has built a reputation for being trustworthy, for being leading edge and for engaging with its users. When your brand name has become a verb, that’s a sign that you have tremendous influence.

Australians have not tired of Google. They want to hear from this brand more than any other in this study and Australians anticipate that Google will continue to go from strength to strength. All of this leads to high levels of confidence in this brand.

What ultimately makes this brand unique in the study is that people feel that the brand has helped them to make smarter choices, and changed what they do every day for the better. It is the brand that has become a fundamental part of everyday life and achieved the ultimate goal of making our lives that little bit more interesting.


About the study

Results are based on an online study of 1000 adult residents of Australia using the Ipsos I-view panel. The results are based on a sample where weighting was employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the actual Australian population according to Census data. The same survey was conducted in nine other countries, with a total global sample size of 15,152.



The dimensions of influence

This study revealed five key dimensions that define and drive brand influence. Brands that are seen to be doing one or more of these successfully are more likely to be seen to be influential. In order of importance these dimensions are:

Leading edge: Brands that are seen to be ahead of their time and innovative are often influential, as they shape consumer behaviour and alter, or even create, markets. They set the standard to which other brands aspire.

Engagement: For a brand to be influential, people have to be engaged with it. This means wanting to get to know it better, and letting others know about it. Engaging brands inspire consumers to interact with them, to seek out more information about them, to support them online, and to share them with their own networks.

Trust: Truly trustworthy brands inspire confidence; they are dependable. They are consistent in how they perform and in what they represent. Brands with high levels of trust are influential, as they are more likely to be recommended to others and foster stronger loyalty.

Corporate citizenship: Influential brands are brands that care. They are environmentally and socially responsible and support their respective communities. Ultimately, they have the potential to represent traits or characteristics to which consumers aspire.

Presence: To have an impact and to have influence, people have to know who you are and what you stand for. Brands that have a high presence generally advertise a lot, are well-established, and are seen and used everywhere.

Gillian O'Sullivan

Gillian O’Sullivan is the managing director of Ipsos Marketing and has 20 years experience in consumer research and marketing. She began her career in brand marketing in consumer healthcare. Having a keen interest in what makes consumers tick, she moved into the consumer research field. Gillian was previously the executive director of consumer research at Nielsen and was also a specialist in services research at AMR. She holds a Bachelor of Economics (Honours) and a Masters of Business (Marketing).

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