Walmart retained its place among Canada’s top 10 most influential brands, while Loblaws continued its rapid rise up the rankings in the 11th annual Ipsos Most Influential Brands in Canada report.
After pushing its way into the top 10 last year, Loblaw’s loyalty program PC Optimum also rose one spot in the rankings, taking over the number nine position that had been occupied by Walmart (now No. 10) for three straight years. PC Optimum is the only Canadian brand to appear in the top 10, which, as in previous years, is dominated by global tech giants.
Run by Ipsos and the Association of Canadian Advertisers, in partnership with ad agency Publicis Canada and the Canadian Media Directors’ Council, the annual report asked 6,700 Canadians to assess more than 100 brands that spend the most on advertising across various dimensions of brand influence: trustworthiness, engagement, leading edge, corporate citizenship, and presence.
The research company added a sixth dimension, COVID, last year, and retained that for the latest iteration. The surveyed findings were analyzed geographically, by gender and across four generational cohorts: baby boomers, generation X, millennials and generation Z.
Google finished atop the rankings for the 10th year in a row, while the other companies in the top 10 were Amazon (No. 2), YouTube (No. 3), Apple (No. 4), Facebook (No. 5), Microsoft (No. 6), Netflix (No. 7) and Visa (No. 8).
Loblaws was the only company among the top 100 to be included in the “Gainers” category for a second year in a row. It followed up a seven-spot gain in last year’s study by moving up 15 spots to 31st overall.
The country’s largest grocer derives nearly half (46%) of its influence from the perception that it is trustworthy, said the report. Ipsos’s chief operating officer Steve Levy noted it had also achieved “generational harmony,” appealing to consumers of all ages.
According to Levy, Loblaws also benefitted from the return of its popular Insider’s Report in physical form—backed by a significant multimedia ad campaign—and its continued strong response to the pandemic. “The public really saw that Loblaws stepped up to the plate in 2021,” he said, pointing out that it was only a handful of brands that over-indexed in its response to COVID.
While Walmart slipped one spot to 10th overall, Levy said the retailer’s continued focus on raising the quality of everyday life of Canadians continues to resonate. The leading contributors to its overall ranking were presence and trustworthiness.
“[It has] a lot of stores, a large employee base, and a very healthy advertising budget,” said Levy, adding that the company was also buoyed by its high-profile “Why We Walmart” campaign, built around testimonials from Canadians, and continued investments in both its online capabilities and enhancing its more than 400 stores.
After cracking the top 10 for the first time in the 2020 brand rankings, the PC Optimum program moved up one spot, driven mostly by its performance on the trustworthy and engagement dimensions.
More than 18 million Canadians now have a PC Optimum card, which is an “enormous number,” said Levy. “Make no mistake, this is a brand whose underlying basis is about data,” he said.
The brand’s rise has been driven by personalization, with its insights-driven app and flyer promotion leading to a continued increase in online sales. Free weekly giveaways of everything from peanuts to tissues also helped endear the brand to its customers, said the report.