Technology continues to rapidly transform the daily lives of people around the world and perhaps even more so in France. Each year Havas Media, in conjunction with CSA, does a study to assess what the top 20 most prominent brands in the lives of the French [FR]. Their study is extremely comprehensive, covering almost 4k consumers and over 200 brands covering 20 sectors. Not surprisingly, this ranking has historically been dominated by more traditional consumer brands, especially France’s global powerhouses such as L’Oreal, Danone, and Renault. However, overtime these brands have begun to fade while tech/digital and media brands have steadily moved up the rankings to claim 8 spots in the top 10. The top three are Google, Facebook and TF1 (respectively) with Orange coming in at 6 and the top global mobile manufacturer Samsung entering the top 10 for the first time at number 7. The only non tech/digital or media brands in the top 10 are McDonalds and Coca-Cola.
Tech/digital and media companies have also posted big gains this year’s ranking with several moving up quite a few spots this year, including YouTube who jumped up 9 places to 12, Apple who moved up 6 to 13, and Free who moved up 5 to 17. As mentioned, the more ‘traditional’ brands look to be in freefall, with many falling out of the top 20 entirely including Carrefour dropping to 25 from 20 last year, Danone falling to 21 from 14 last year, and L’Oreal dropping a whopping 8 spots to 24 this year.
Havas reckons that technology has, in many ways, brought consumers much closer to brands, with social media and devices creating a stronger link between individuals and products/brands. In addition, they view that technology has profoundly created a direct channel of communication between consumers and brands, making it both easier and more challenging for brands to maintain and cultivate a relationship with consumers. Coca-Cola has behaved more like a tech/digital and new media companies in the sense that they figured out pretty early on the importance and power of social media in nurturing relationships with customers. Unfortunately however, in the more established, traditional consumer product world, Coca-Cola has been been more of the exception than the rule. I suppose this ranking demonstrates what can happen when a brand falls asleep at the digital/new media wheel.