In between clicking through banner ads and skipping through Hulu pre-roll, we might collectively roll our eyes at how inundated we are with advertising, how exhausted we are by brands in our face 24/7.

But as Edelman’s 2016 Earned Brand study shows, people love brands the way squirrels love nuts. In other words: a whole lot.

Close your eyes and think about a brand you love. Do it. I’ll wait.

Now think about that brand and how it has elevated overall quality in the category. (Haven’t Internet retailers made everyone up their game on delivery?)

Now think about how boring it would be to go shopping. (Doesn’t everyone love choosing between a wide variety of shampoos? I want one just for me!)

What about product safety? (If you never knew where that listeria-ridden frozen vegetable came from, how do you hold the producer accountable?)

As a self-proclaimed brand addict, it’s easy for me to imagine how dull my world would be without brands. But apparently the rest of you are in it with me. Welcome.

More than 60 percent of the 13,000 consumers we polled around the world in our Earned Brand study agreed that in a world without brands — a world in which there was only (gasp!) one kind of each product — it’s more likely that:

  • The world would be a lot less creative
  • People would be less able to express their individuality
  • Product quality would be worse
  • There would be less innovation
  • Life would be more boring

Now, I’m not going to tell you the names of my favorite brands, because from where I sit that wouldn’t be playing fair. But I love my old-fashioned made with a particular American bourbon and my very safe Swedish car (although not together!). As a mom, I must have this squeezy applesauce and that big-box store for my kids. As a traveler, I love my tablet-that-doubles-as-a-laptop, and you will pry my frequent flyer status out of my cold, dead hands. A world without my brands in my life doesn’t sound like a place I want to be.

So here’s a reminder: Next time you’re FFing through the ads on your DVR, tip your hat to the color and diversity and individuality that brands bring to our lives.


Amanda Glasgow, U.S. Consumer practice chair.