Canada’s Top 10 Most Influential Brands: Google in top spot again, Netflix enters Top 10, Samsung bounces back

THE Association of Canadian Advertisers (ACA) and The Institute of Communication Agencies (ICA) in partnership with Ipsos on Tuesday unveiled the Top 10 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 almost 300 marketers in attendance.

The 2017 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 2017

  1. Google (–)
  2. Facebook (–)
  3. Apple (+1)
  4. Amazon (+1)
  5. Microsoft (-2)
  6. YouTube (–)
  7. Walmart (–)
  8. Visa (–)
  9. Netflix (+4) — new to the top 10
  10. Samsung (+6) — new to the top 10


“Our study measures and ranks today’s most influential brands, why they are leading, which generations they influence most, how they impact us and what makes them influential,” explained Levy. “Visionary brands continue to be founded on a sense of purpose that establishes stronger emotional connections.”

This year we saw a new entrant in the Top Ten – Netflix and the return of Samsung after the Samsung Galaxy 7 problems in 2016. Levy commented that “brands that have experienced challenges, like Samsung, 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 35,000 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 drives 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 sixth consecutive year, in part by beefing up its hardware business and using its household name to branch out into new products. Facebook remained stable at No. 2, catering to customer preferences by expanding its offerings and researching emerging technologies. While pushing tech boundaries and exploring new horizons, Apple is at No. 3. Amazon continues to grow its influence and now is No. 4. Microsoft moved down two ranks to No. 5. As it rides the mobile tsunami, YouTube stays at No. 6. Walmart remains a consistent Top Ten Brand remaining in spot No. 7, while Visa, perceived as ubiquitous and security-focused, stays at No. 8. Netflix makes its debut in the top 10 at No. 9. Samsung re-enters the Top 10 at No. 10 after a short hiatus last year.

Several differences were found to exist by generation; it is useful 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 YouTube, Netflix, Apple and Facebook are their brands of choice. Similarly, the digital age defines Millennials who love brands like Google, Facebook, Apple, Netflix, YouTube and Amazon. Gen X are comfortable melding offline and online worlds, as fans of tech pioneers (Apple and Microsoft), are value-conscious (Walmart) and convenience shoppers (Amazon and Pay Pal). 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 Canada Post and are loyal to stalwart brands, being influenced by Visa, Walmart and MasterCard.

“While each brand must discover its secret sauce to success, those that deliver on trustworthiness, engagement, leading edge, corporate citizenship and presence will undoubtedly exert influence,” said Levy.

“The influence that brands can have is a constantly evolving narrative. The need to be genuine and true is more important than ever, in essence, brand trust must be the driving factor in messaging and activation for all businesses,” said Scott Knox, President and CEO of the Institute of Communication Agencies (ICA). “It has been interesting being part of the Most Influential Brands initiative over the past few years, I predict a lot of this will change in the next few.”

“Every marketer these days is laser-focused on generating stronger connections to their customers and earning a meaningful place in their busy lives. These brands do that incredibly well,” said Ron Lund of the Association of Canadian Advertisers (ACA). “ACA supports this program because it is not only a celebration of the brands on the list but a means to identify and share greatness, and to set new standards and benchmarks that move the whole industry forward.”