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Wunderman Thompson reveals 2021 ranking of top 100 most inspiring brands

Wunderman Thompson has revealed its latest annual 'The Inspire Score: Top 100 2021', a ranking of the Top 100 Most Inspiring Brands in the World.
Now in its second year, the ‘Inspire Score’ is Wunderman Thompson’s proprietary diagnostic tool which measures a brand’s inspiration status and uncovers the brand attributes that fuel business growth through their ability to inspire people.

Wunderman Thompson reveals 2021 ranking of top 100 most inspiring brands

Google, Apple, Samsung, Amazon, and Nestlé are the top brands for 2021 thanks to their ability to connect people in new ways, inspire people to think differently and elevate people’s lives to be better.

This year, Google jumped to the top of the ranking as it continued to be relentlessly focused on simplifying the customer experience and changing what is possible when it comes to using the world’s information to help us better navigate in both the physical and digital worlds. Google is followed by Apple, a brand that’s long been built on its emotive call to unlock your creative potential, and Samsung whose philosophy in many territories is a clear promise to open new possibilities. E-commerce giant, Amazon, is fourth on the list of Most Inspiring Brands, with their plans for growth spanning startups, supermarkets and Hollywood studios, followed by Nestlé, who are committed to unlocking the power of food to enhance the quality of life for all.

The ‘Inspire Score: Top 100’ was first launched in 2020 as part of Wunderman Thompson’s global brand study, Inspiring Growth, the world’s largest ongoing study into inspiration, which explores why brands need to be inspirational, how inspiration drives growth and what brands can do to inspire their customers. The annual list of the Top 100 Most Inspiring Brands in the World tracks and analyses the brands that are best at inspiring their customers, revealing how inspiration affects a brand’s ability to drive growth in market share and command a price premium. The 2021 ranking is derived from WPP's proprietary BAV dataset, with the 2020-21 data compiled from over 20,000 studies of 12,000 brands in 855 categories across 24 industries and 17 markets.

Mel Edwards, global chief executive officer at Wunderman Thompson said: “Inspiring growth for ambitious brands is at the heart of everything we do. Our research proves a strong correlation between inspiration and brand growth, which is why our annual list of the Top 100 Most Inspiring Brands is a powerful tool for large and small brands alike. It demonstrates the power of inspiration by helping brands understand people’s evolving preferences for the product, services, and experiences they can design to spark their imagination and motivate change.”

Neil Dawson, global chief strategy officer at Wunderman Thompson added: “Based on research into inspiration in the field of motivational psychology, we found that the most inspirational brands scored highly on three factors: Elevating (having a positive impact on society, improving people’s lives); Magnetic (make consumers feel like they’re making a popular, exciting choice); and Motivation (offer people a way to help accomplish their goals). Together these inspiration factors driven growth. The top brands for 2021 – Google, Apple, Amazon, and Samsung – inspire people to think differently; proving brands have the power to ignite change and make the world a more inspiring place.”

Key insights from the study include:
  • From soft drinks to luxury goods, big brands across all categories are well represented within the list, with high-tech brands that constantly bring consumers’ new abilities taking the top spots.

  • Brands that have been especially useful during Covid-19 such as YouTube, Microsoft, Facebook, Netflix, WhatsApp, and Instagram are among some of the highest ranking, reflecting our need to feel connected and entertained during the pandemic. Likewise, fast-food brands such as McDonalds, Starbucks, Burger King and Domino’s Pizza are among the Top 50, demonstrating people’s desire for fast food during periods of lockdown around the world.

  • With the growing trend of ‘The Great Resignation’ following the shift in priorities and working arrangements that came with Covid-19, it’s no surprise to see LinkedIn in the top half of the list, entering the ranking for the first time in 37th.

Download the full ranking here.

Join the conversation using #WTInspire.

About WT Inspire


Inspire is Wunderman Thompson’s proprietary global platform that explores what makes brands inspiring and what inspires consumers. The foundation of Inspire is a rigorous, multidimensional research methodology, including qualitative and quantitative research across four continents, and sophisticated data analytics that identifies the qualities a brand must embody, the narratives it should weave, and the experiences it can design in order to spark people’s inspiration.

Inspire has two core components: 

Inspire Score: a brand diagnostic tool that identifies the brand attributes that fuel growth through their power to inspire people, culminating in an annual list of the Top 100 Most Inspiring Brands in the World. Validated by consumer analysis and powered by WPP’s proprietary BAV dataset, the Inspire Score enables our teams to audit more than 340,000 studies of 47,000 brands worldwide, from over 2,700 categories across 25 industries and 45 markets and provide a road map to greater inspiration and growth.

Inspire InFocus: the world’s largest social study on inspiration that maps the psychological link between people’s deep rooted, often subconscious values systems and their inspiration preferences, enabling us to predict how humanity will be inspired. Inspire InFocus feeds our proprietary syndicated motivational segmentation, which enables brands to apply these powerful insights to target audiences and strengthen their marketing strategies.
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