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The Leading Edge, Hotwire and Orchard team up to reveal what makes a brand truly great

New report reveals five roads to greatness for brands

The Leading Edge, Australia’s leading insight and strategy consultancy, has conducted research into what makes a brand great. In partnership with its sister Enero Group agencies, Hotwire, a global communications consultancy, and Orchard, a leading digital marketing firm, the report identifies five specific roads that take brands from good to great to greatness.

The findings reveal that brands which encompass greatness have five distinct qualities: Passionate Vision, a sense of Connected Care, encouraging Active Social Change, Celebrating its Origins and delivering Human Inspiration.

The Leading Edge asked 600 Australian consumers (alongside qualitative group conversations) to identify brands they considered ‘great’, ‘not good’ and those that ‘used to be great’. By exploring the differences between these brands, the report’s findings reveal a new way to think about brand building and marketing activity.

Results also reveal that brands considered great have several commercial advantages:

  • A higher level of customer loyalty (56% of people buy greatbrands for 5+ years, whereas only 28% of people will stick with a brand long-term if it is not considered great)
  • 82% of greatbrands are seen as having forward momentum (vs. 17% of those not considered great), giving consumers a sense that they are going somewhere and they want to be along for the ride
  • People prefer to engagemore with brands they considered great – they talk about them more and engage with them on social media (74% of people engage with brands they consider great, vs only 28% for those they don’t)

“Our study shows that consumers not only want more from brands, but actually that they value what great brands do,” says Lee Naylor, Managing Partner at The Leading Edge. “These great brands are caring, enduring, socially responsible – they are passionate in what they do and inspire us as consumers.”

The report identified that becoming a great brand requires focus, discipline and bravery from marketers and requires businesses to change their mindset to a ‘constant pursuit of greatness’.

In achieving ‘greatness’, active social change is imperative. Says Kim Verbrugghe, Head of Strategy, Orchard: “We need to look at the regenerative path, walked by those who understand that there’s no going back. That we need to take a different approach to how we function in the world, change our behaviours and embrace a new kind of economy.

“They believe in expansive consciousness and a give and receive mindset. The regenerative path is the path for renewable energy, socially responsible companies and impact brands that want to make a positive difference to the world. They’re the businesses that thrive amongst millennials and people who buy based on their values.”

The report also highlights the huge role the public plays in dictating their expectations of brands, and something marketers need to pay particular attention to.

Mylan Vu, MD at Hotwire Australia says: “The findings from The Leading Edge’s research highlights that public perception is everything. With people more than willing to call out a brand’s missteps on social media – think Pepsi’s failed ad campaign with Kendall Jenner – it’s more important than ever to have an authentic voice that resonates with consumers. Merely talking the talk is no longer an option. To be considered ‘great’, brands need to be transparent and let their core values dictate every facet of their business.”

Other key findings from the research include:

  • Greatbrands are more commonly found in the technology, sports and automotive sectors
  • Millennials are considerably more involved with brands than other generations, with 58% of them saying they are deeply involved, compared to just 43% of Generation X, and only a third of Baby Boomers.



The Leading Edge conducted a nationally representative online survey of 1200 respondents for whom brands play a role in their lives (600 in the UK and 600 in Australia), as well as focus groups in the UK consisting of 27 people, analysing over 3,600 brand mentions. The Leading Edge surveyed approximately 50% male and 50% female consumers, with 25% of consumers from each generation group (Young millennials (18-29), Older millennials (30-39), Generation X (40-55) and Baby Boomers (55+)).

About The Leading Edge

The Leading Edge is an insight, strategy and innovation consultancy that works with brands and businesses to help them unleash their hidden potential and give them an edge. Created to do things differently and do things better, The Leading Edge believes it’s not just about what clients don’t know, but it’s about focusing on what they can do to get better. With offices in London and Sydney, The Leading Edge works all over the globe to help brands grow.  Find out more about The Leading Edge at

About Hotwire

Hotwire, the global communications agency, helps CMOs better engage and connect with their customers. From Sydney to San Francisco, we operate with a borderless mind-set across 22 locations including the UK, US, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Australia, together with co-branded partners Yellow Communications in the Netherlands and Belgium, Active DMC in the Middle East and VIANEWS in Brazil, as well as other affiliate partners. For more information, please visit

About Orchard

Orchard is a creative and technology agency that seeks to invent better outcomes that make a difference for businesses and brands. With offices in Sydney and New York we count Hyundai, IKEA, Electrolux, Schwarzkopf, Carnival Cruises, Boehringer Ingelheim and Zoetis as key clients. Find out more about Orchard at

About Enero

Hotwire is wholly owned by Enero Group Limited, a company listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX:EGG). The Enero Group is a boutique network of marketing and communications businesses that includes BMF, CPR, Frank, Hotwire, Naked Communications, OB Media, Precinct, Orchard, The Digital Edge and The Leading Edge. For more information, please visit

About The Research Society 1081 Articles
The Research Society is the peak body for research, insights and analytics professionals in Australia. It has a diverse membership of individuals at all levels of experience and seniority within agencies, consultancies, client-side organisations, the non-profit and government sectors, support services as well as institutions and the academic community. As well as over 2,000 individual members, the Research Society has 125+ company and client partners, with the number continuing to grow. The Research Society research professionals and company partners commit to and are regulated by the Research Society Code of Professional Behaviour.