When it comes to influencing consumer behavior, some retail brands outshine others.
Amazon, Target and The Home Depot ranked among the top 15 brands in Harte Hanks’ inaugural “Most Motivating Brands Index.” Google was the highest-rated brand on the index, followed by Amazon, Samsung, Disney and Dove.
Other top brands included Target, at No. 6, followed, in descending order, by Nike, Paypal, Home Depot, Apple, Sony, Teladoc, LG, Visa and Headspace.
"2020 is clearly a tumultuous year that has brought a number of societal issues to the forefront in our country,” said Gretchen Ramsey, chief strategy officer, Harte Hanks. "The brands topping our list are the most successful in maintaining influence in people's lives during this time, and they are doing it in ways that will likely have a long-term impact after this culture-reshaping year."
Harte Hanks compiled the ranking using a proprietary methodology that evaluates brands on a set of drivers critical to empathy – the act of showing consumers that they are being listened to and understood – and that demonstrate action to serve those consumers.
Google rated the highest on a number of drivers, including creativity and cultural relevance. Amazon, the second highest-rated brand on the index, was rated the most reliable brand, and also scored high in areas such as responsiveness and relevance. Apple had the highest action total score, while Dove ranked highest on total empathy.
The new index is part of Harte Hanks Behavioral Index, a global initiative launched in March to uncover emerging behavioral shifts that influence consumer behavior.
"2020 will likely lay the foundation for consumer behavior, and its impact on our economy, for the next decade or longer," said Andrew Benett, executive chairman and CEO of Harte Hanks. "As consumers reevaluate how they do everything -- from work to connecting with loved ones to shopping to educating the next generation – brands that stay quiet in this pivotal year risk losing their chance to make an impression on consumers that will impact their bottom lines for years to come."