Ipsos announces eighth annual Top 10 Most Influential Brands in Canada

Google retains top spot for seventh year, rankings shift, and Tim Hortons re-enters Top 10.

The author(s)
  • Steve Levy Ipsos Canada
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Toronto, ON, February 5, 2019 — The Association of Canadian Advertisers (ACA) and Ipsos, in partnership with Publicis unveiled today the Ipsos Most Influential Brands in Canada – a comprehensive study measuring and ranking today’s brands in Canada and the world at an exclusive event hosted by The Globe and Mail, and held at the Globe and Mail Centre in Toronto with over 300 Marketers in attendance. The 2018 Most Influential Brands study was conducted in 17 countries and evaluates 100+ brands in each country and ranks their influence. Steve Levy, COO at Ipsos announced the ranking, discussing how this year’s brands achieved their status and why brands are influential.

Most Influential Brands in Canada 2018

1.  Google (-)

2.  Amazon (+2)

3.  Apple (-)

4.  Facebook (-2)

5.  Microsoft (-)

6.  YouTube (-)

7.  Visa (+1)

8.  Netflix (+1)

9.  Walmart (-2)

10. Tim Hortons (+6) back in the top 10


“Canada’s most influential brands march to their own drums: their edgy, unconventional nature is what makes them stand out in a crowded, competitive marketplace,” explained Mr. Levy. “They influence how we dress, communicate, travel, shop, spend our free time, celebrate and socialize.”

This year we saw a brand re-enter into the Top Ten – Tim Hortons. Mr. Levy commented that “brands that have experienced challenges, like Tim Hortons, can and do bounce back if they focus on addressing the right issues”.

The Most Influential Brands study examines five key dimensions that drive the most influential brands in Canada: trustworthiness, presence, being leading edge, corporate citizenship and engagement. The study ranks brands according to their influence; this year’s study polled a representative sample of over 6,000 Canadians and more than 34,500 citizens worldwide. Survey findings were analyzed geographically, by gender and across generations including Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z.

Study highlights

Although the Top 10 brands have remained relatively stable over the past seven years, technology-focused companies are rising to the top as social media plays an increasingly important role in brand influence, underscoring that influence takes time to build. The rankings continue to be a combination of digital service/social media, technology, retail and credit card brands. The one factor that many of these have in common is the frequency with which they are used, which results in them being firmly entrenched in day to day life. The most influential brands are important and relevant; consumers identify with and have an emotional reaction to these brands and couldn’t imagine living their life without them.  

Google – the world’s most popular Internet search site - ranks No. 1 for the eighth consecutive year, in part by beefing up its hardware business and using its household name to branch out into AI offerings. Amazon’s influence continues to grow, landing it at No. 2. Apple maintains its position as the 3rd most influential brand in Canada in 2018. After a difficult year, Facebook dropped 2 spots to No. 4. Both Microsoft and YouTube stayed put at No. 5 and 6, respectively. Visa advanced one spot to No. 7 meanwhile Netflix, first debuting on the Influence list in 2012, continues to advance coming in at No. 8 this year. Walmart declined 2 positions to No. 9 while Tim Hortons, after some challenges in 2017 and early 2018, regained its position in the Top 10 moving from No. 16 last year to No. 10 in 2018.

Several differences were found to exist by generation; it is important to understand how brands impact generations, so marketers can deliver products and services that cater to generational tastes. Despite varying attitudes and inclination, Google takes a clean sweep for influence across Gen Z, Millennials, Generation X and Boomers.

Generation Z comes of age in a time of political and economic turbulence and for whom technology is paramount. In particular, Netflix is even more influential among this cohort, coming in at No. 4. Similarly, the digital age defines Millennials who love brands like Google, Facebook, Amazon, Youtube and Apple. Gen X are comfortable melding offline and online worlds, as fans of tech pioneers (Apple and Microsoft), are value-conscious (Walmart). Boomers gravitate to technologies and brands they grew up with and while they have adopted search technology such as Google, also prefer traditional sources such as CBC and Canadian Tire. They are also more influenced by credit card brands such as Visa and MasterCard.

“Moreover, the Most Influential brands don’t just sell a product or service. They promote a strong sense of purpose and shape our world while connecting emotionally with people. Only those that strike the right balance between trustworthiness, engagement, being leading edge, corporate citizenship and presence will truly make an impact with consumers and indeed on the world,” continued Mr. Levy.

“Brand influence is the key driver of action,” said Shannon Lewis, President CMDC. “It is important to celebrate, learn and be inspired by the IPSOS long-standing ‘Most Influential Brands’. It also lends itself to truly appreciate the dynamic, innovative work coming out of our member media agencies steering clients to craft bold, authentic brand campaigns.”

Brett McIntosh, CMO of Publicis Canada, made the point that “as marketers, it is our job to nudge the consumer along a non-linear journey toward purchase. My experience is those brands with strong, existing influence have a much easier time in making this happen. In an always-on, content environment, strong influence sure helps maximize budgets,” said

“Successful marketers are continually focused on creating stronger connections with their brands and customers, earning a meaningful place in their busy lives. These are the brands that do that incredibly well,” said Ron Lund, President & CEO, Association of Canadian Advertisers (ACA). “ACA supports this important research, not only because it celebrates the brands on the list, but more importantly because it identifies and sets new benchmarks that move the whole industry forward.”

About the Study

The Most Influential Brands study was conducted in October 2018. The online survey of 6,700 Canadians was conducted using the Ipsos iSay Panel. The results are based on a sample where weighting was employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample’s composition reflects Canada’s adult population according to Census data and results approximated the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval, accurate within +/- 1.3 percentage points, had the entire population of adults in Canada been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Subscriptions to the study are available.

About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. Ipsos ranks fourth in the global research industry.

Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.

For more information, visuals, or to arrange an interview with an Ipsos spokesperson, please contact:

Steve Levy,
Chief Operating Officer, Canada
416 324-2107
[email protected]

About The Globe and Mail

The Globe and Mail, founded in 1844, is Canada's foremost news media company. Each day, The Globe leads the national discussion by engaging Canadians through its award-winning coverage of news, politics, business, investing and lifestyle topics, across multiple platforms. The Globe and Mail print and digital formats reach over 6 million readers every week, with Report on Business magazine reaching over 1.5 million readers every issue in print and digital. The Globe and Mail is owned by Woodbridge, the investment arm of the Thomson family.

For more information about The Globe and Mail, please contact:

Lanna Crucefix
Communications Manager, The Globe and Mail
[email protected]

About Association of Canadian Advertisers (ACA)

ACA is the independent voice of Canadian marketers speaking on behalf of more than 200 companies and divisions. The ACA is the go-to organization for client marketers, helping our members maximize their MarCom and brand ROI. This unique position enables us to act solely in the marketers best interests by championing a fair, accountable and transparent marketplace; providing insight and best practices, and; facilitating professional development and networking. For more information, visit www.acaweb.ca.

For more information, please contact:

 Christine Wilby
 [email protected]
416-964-3805 ext. 1003

About Publicis Canada

Publicis Canada is one of the largest and leading communications groups in the country with over 585 employees. At Publicis, we all share a common ambition: to help our clients and their brands be and remain the leaders they want to be. Publicis Canada is part of Publicis Worldwide, one of the three worldwide advertising networks within the Publicis Groupe SA.

For more information, please contact:

Brett McIntosh
[email protected]

About CMDC:

The Canadian Media Directors’ Council plays a pro-active role in the media communications industry as advocates, leaders and as trusted advisors, to ensure a fair and progressive marketplace on behalf of our clients, our agencies and our media partners. We operate as a collective, influential voice promoting the advertising sector as a driver of growth in the Canadian economy. We are responsive to government and regulators for the adoption of best practices in advertising. We are committed to inspiring the future leaders in the Canadian media industry with our Youth Ambassador Program that encourages advance thinking and a culture of connectivity and creativity.

For more information, please contact:

Shannon Lewis
[email protected]

The author(s)
  • Steve Levy Ipsos Canada

Media & Brand communication