Wunderman Thompson reveals ‘The Inspire Score: Top 100 2021’, a ranking of the Top 100 Most Inspiring Brands in the World today. 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.

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 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 and 17 markets.

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.

Mel Edwards

Global Chief Executive Officer, Wunderman Thompson

Top100 WT COM Hero

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 start-ups, supermarkets, and Hollywood studios, followed by Nestlé, who are committed to unlocking the power of food to enhance the quality of life for all.

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.

Neil Dawson

Global Chief Strategy Officer, Wunderman Thompson

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.

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