Welcome to The Conscious Brands 100
The 2020s have already disoriented us all. They’ve shocked us, bored us, inflamed us and driven us to do things very differently. Global events are changing not just how we all feel and behave, but what we fundamentally value.
What is a conscious brand?
“Intelligence is the ability to solve problems, whereas consciousness is the ability to feel things such as pain, joy, love and anger. Throughout history, intelligence always went hand in hand with consciousness.”
Yuval Noah Harari
Today, we see that there is a clear need for brands to act more responsibly—to become more ethical, sustainable and prepared to make tough calls on moral and social issues.
But good isn’t good enough. If they’re going to remain competitive, there is also an urgent need for brands to be more responsive—more alive to peoples’ shifting identities, moods and cultures.
Wolff Olins has defined brands who play at this responsive and responsible intersection as ‘conscious brands’—more conscious of their impact and more conscious of the people they serve.
We see becoming a more conscious brand as a journey, not a simple overnight switch (as culture is always changing, nobody’s perfect and no brand is ever the finished article).
To help define where brands are on their conscious journey, we’ve created The Conscious Brands 100. Our aim is to help gauge how a brand measures up today and ultimately how it can be more conscious tomorrow.
How is the
Conscious Brands 100
There are lots of rankings out there already. They tend to fall into one of two camps: curator-driven, or singular metric-driven.
Curator-driven lists (built by tastemakers, editors or compiled through nominations) are undoubtedly valuable and interesting—and often showcase up-and-coming brands. But equally, they can be hard to learn from as they often list obscure or niche brands and are not ranked according to objective metrics. Conversely, metrics-driven rankings too often sort brands according to singular measures like trust or relevance. These lists are informative, but they must be seen for what they are: one part of a bigger picture.
The Conscious Brands 100 is different. We’ve created a multi-dimensional conscious lens that is not about singular measures (such as value or sustainability goals), but which takes a comprehensive new view of how brands need to operate in the modern world—on a personal and planetary level.
With Hall & Partners, we began constructing our research by building a base longlist of the world’s leading brands, collated from a wide range of sources including existing brand indexes and recommendations from our clients and colleagues.
Consumers then scored them according to 6 key dimensions (the 6 Signs of a Conscious Brand, which you can read more about here) which take into account how a brand is perceived and how it is experienced.
Together, we have used the findings to build a combined global 100 list, as well as local UK, US and China lists. This has enabled us to rank some of the world's most famous brands, as well as making room for lesser-known local heroes.
We hope this new study provokes debate and reflection. Because this is a new era for brands, and together we want to help you lead the way.
A study that reflects
the rapidly shifting values of
The Covid crisis has rocked the world and accelerated change in so many aspects of our lives. Inevitably this is having an impact on consumers, how they see the world, what they value and what is important to them.
What is beginning to emerge is a real shift in values: we are seeing more ‘Conscious Consumers’.
This clearly plays out in our inaugural rankings, which are reflective of a year where the brands that are now deemed ‘essential’ have changed dramatically.
We are also seeing that consumers place greater emphasis on values such as sustainability, social equality, authentic activism, diversity and inclusivity—and they have a greater expectation for actions rather than just words from businesses.
Hall & Partners’ recent work looking at conscious consumerism (The Value Shift) has shown that consumers want very different things and there is a need and opportunity for businesses and brands to show new leadership—leadership that paints a picture of a fairer, more equal world, one where everyone gets what they deserve.
It is in this context that we have begun to consider how conscious consumers and businesses are impacting how we value brands.
Through being more responsible and responsive to people, communities, society and the planet, our study reveals that conscious brands have stronger emotional involvement and brand commitment than less conscious brands.
Ultimately conscious brands are also more likely to grow, reflected in significantly stronger revenue growth for the best performing brands.
This demonstrates that being a conscious brand should not be seen as a nice-to-have or token initiative, but a fundamental part of your brand and business growth strategy.
Conscious brands are more likely to grow
- *Excluding Moderna which would increase the average to 111%!
- Source: Analysis of published financial information in annual reports and other public reports