At Iris, we believe that the most potent and efficient brands in the world today are being built with people, not for them. We call them Participation Brands.

89% of advertising not noticed or remembered at all. £515 billion per annum wasted on ‘wallpaper’. Audiences who either don’t like you, ignore you or actively block you. Is marketing today an impossible job?

Faced by this fundamental modern marketing dilemma, a new breed of brand is not just surviving, but thriving. They are outperforming the competition without outspending them. They are getting their market to do their marketing.

What’s the secret to their success?

The Participation Brand Index uses the data from 14,000 global consumers across multiple sectors to understand the relationship between Participation Brand building and business performance. It explores the relative significance of different marketing levers in making this a reality for your brand, and which of the 177 brands studied are doing it well.

The brands who top the study are those seen to have not just a positioning, but a passionate purpose at their heart. They are the ones felt not to just respond to culture but actively shape it. They are the brands creating content, conversations and experiences that people want to get involved in. They are the Participation Brands, and they are reaping the rewards.

Participation Brands Drive Advocacy

Consumer involvement is the secret to driving NPS. The stronger a brand scores on the Participation Brand Index, the higher their NPS. Every 8 points achieved on the Participation Brand Index is worth a 1 point increase in NPS.

Participation Brands Gain Share of Mind

The brands scoring most highly on the Participation Brands Index are the those that people ‘think about more regularly’. There is a strong relationship between Participation Brand Index score and mental availability across all 177 brands measured.

Participation Brands Command a Premium

The higher a brand’s Participation Brand Index score, the more consumers are willing to pay for that brand.

Participation Brands Create Value

Participation Brand Performance is a predictor of changes in brand value. For the 40 brands studied globally, Participation performance correlates directly to year on year shifts in Interbrand value.

Participation Brands Outperform the Market

The stronger a brand’s Participation performance the greater its stock market performance over the past 3 years. Data shows 40 global brands.

Participation Brands Outperform

A 3 year investment in the top 20 global brands in the Participation Brand Index would have earned a return 4 times that of the bottom 20 brands.

An investment in the top 10 brands in the Index would have produced a return double that of the S&P 500 each year over the past 3 years.

Participation Brands come in all shapes and sizes

While the study explores 177 brands from around the world, there were 40 global brands that we tracked across multiple markets. Apple remain the benchmark Participation Brand by seamlessly excelling at all pillars of participation within one consistent Distinctive Character.

Number one brand among Millennials is Netflix, who upset the usual suspects through a clear dedication to Category Innovation in entertainment. There is a stronger sense of anticipation in what the brand is going to do next than any other brand in the study.

Scale isn’t a requirement to be a leading Participation Brand. Number nine among the global brands is GoPro, a brand that is combining the distinctiveness of its product with the People Power of its small yet growing ownership base to bring in new customers. While technology brands dominate the top ten, spirit brands also compete, thanks to the ongoing work from brands like Johnnie Walker to make the Experience of Buying the brand as enjoyable as possible.

Explore stories by market