Millward Brown, in Partnership with Jim Stengel, Reveals the 50 Fastest-Growing Brands in the World and Uncovers the Source of Their Success

Unprecedented 10-year global study serves as the foundation for new book, GROW - How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World’s Greatest Companies

(Photo: Business Wire)

NEW YORK--()--Based on 10 years of empirical research involving 50,000 brands, Millward Brown and Jim Stengel developed the list of the world’s 50 fastest growing brands which built the deepest relationships with customers and achieved the greatest financial growth from 2001-2011. The study, which forms the backbone of GROW: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World’s Greatest Companies (Crown Business; December 27, 2011), establishes a cause and effect relationship between a brand’s ability to serve a higher purpose and its financial performance. Notably, investment in these companies – the Stengel 50 – over the past decade would have been 400% more profitable than an investment in the S&P 500.

“I have always believed that great brands are built on improving the lives of the people they serve; I wanted to prove that maximum profit and high ideals aren’t incompatible but, in fact, inseparable,” said Jim Stengel, former global marketing officer of P&G and author of GROW. “I chose Millward Brown and the team at Millward Brown Optimor as my partners not only because of their extensive brand database – the largest in the world – but, more importantly, because they have the right strategic thinkers who deeply understand the role of brands in growing businesses.”

“We wanted to uncover which brands grew the most over the past decade, both in terms of customer bonding and shareholder value,” said Millward Brown Optimor VP Benoit Garbe, who led the study. “Once we identified these brands, our burning question was what, if any, were the common principles that sparked and sustained their growth.”

To arrive at the Stengel 50, Millward Brown Optimor valued thousands of brands across 30+ countries. The list included both B2B and B2C businesses in 28 categories ranging in size from $100 million in revenues to well over $100 billion:

The Stengel 50

Accenture, management and enterprise consulting services


L’Occitane, personal care

Airtel, mobile communications

Louis Vuitton, luxury apparel and leather goods, e-commerce

MasterCard, electronic payments

Apple, personal computing technology and mobile devices

Mercedes-Benz, automobiles

Aquarel, bottled water

Method, household cleaners and personal care

BlackBerry, mobile communications

Moët & Chandon, champagne

Calvin Klein, luxury apparel and accessories

Natura, personal care

Chipotle, fast food

Pampers, baby care

Coca-Cola, soft drinks

Petrobras, energy

Diesel, youth- targeted fashion apparel and accessories

Rakuten Ichiba, e-commerce

Discovery Communications, media

Red Bull, energy drinks

Dove, personal care

Royal Canin, pet food

Emirates, air travel

Samsung, electronics

FedEx, delivery services

Sedmoy Kontinent (“Seventh Continent”), retail grocery

Google, Internet information

Sensodyne, oral care

Heineken, beer

Seventh Generation, household cleaners and personal care

Hennessy, spirits

Snow, beer

Hermès, luxury apparel and leather goods

Starbucks, coffee and fast food retailer

HP, information technology products and services

Stonyfield Farm, organic dairy products

Hugo Boss, luxury apparel and accessories

Tsingtao, beer

IBM, information technology products and services, e-commerce

Innocent, food and beverages

Visa, electronic payments

Jack Daniel’s, spirits

Wegmans, retail grocery

Johnnie Walker, spirits

Zappos, e-commerce

Lindt, chocolate

Zara, affordable apparel


IdealsThe Ultimate Growth Driver

A team comprising Millward Brown Optimor brand strategists, Jim Stengel, Professor Sanjay Sood and MBA students at UCLA Anderson Graduate School of Management set out to dig deeper into the success of the Stengel 50. Through extensive research, the team uncovered that each brand was built on an ideal of improving lives in some way, irrespective of size and category.

“We define ideal as the higher-order benefit a brand or a business gives to the world,” said Stengel. “Some companies are very explicit about their ideals, like Zappos – their ideal of delivering happiness is on their boxes, all over their offices, even on t-shirts employees wear. Other brands, like Louis Vuitton, are more implicit about it. But all their actions – throughout their products, stores and communications – amplify their ideal to luxuriously accentuate the journey of life.”

Added Garbe, “We found that this ideal is both a source of inspiration externally among customers, as well as a compass for internal decision making. So whether it’s Red Bull which seeks to Uplift Mind and Body or Pampers which is all about Caring for Happy Healthy Development of Babies, an ideal influences all facets of the business from HR and Marketing to R&D and Finance.”

Through case studies, GROW demonstrates how brand ideals aren’t simply about altruism or corporate social responsibility but a fundamental human value that is authentic to the brand and ultimately a driver for extraordinary growth. In fact, Millward Brown Optimor’s analysis discovered that those who centered their businesses on ideals had a growth rate triple that of competitors in their categories.

How Ideals Impact the Consumer Mind

To further explore if and how ideals impact consumer attitudes, Millward Brown’s Neuroscience team devised a method to uncover the implicit associations that people make between brands and ideals. This custom research provided insights into the types of associations activated in people’s minds by the Stengel 50 brands and their competitors. The research uncovered the extent to which these high-growth brands touch on the five fields of fundamental human values identified in GROW:

  • Eliciting Joy: Activating experiences of happiness, wonder, and limitless possibility
  • Enabling Connection: Enhancing the ability of people to connect with each other and the world in meaningful ways
  • Inspiring Exploration: Helping people explore new horizons and new experiences
  • Evoking Pride: Giving people increased confidence, strength, security, and vitality
  • Impacting Society: Affecting society broadly, from challenging the status quo to redefining categories

GROW will change the way the C-Suite thinks about achieving financial performance and will help usher in a new era of marketing,” said Eileen Campbell, Global CEO of Millward Brown. “We are incredibly proud of our work with Jim – work that embodies Millward Brown’s own brand ideal of creating meaningful impact.”

To learn more about Millward Brown’s partnership with Jim Stengel and their approach to unlocking ideal-driven growth, visit

Millward Brown Optimor is a brand and business consultancy, dedicated to igniting business growth through transformative brand and market strategies. Millward Brown Optimor provides strategic corporate and brand consulting, rooting its approach in consumer research, stakeholder understanding and financial analysis. Millward Brown Optimor is part of Millward Brown, one the largest global research agencies, part of the WPP Group. Through the use of an integrated suite of validated research solutions — both qualitative and quantitative — Millward Brown helps clients build strong brands and services. Millward Brown has more than 78 offices in 54 countries. Additional practices include Millward Brown's Global Media Practice (media effectiveness unit), The Neuroscience Practice (using neuroscience to enhance traditional research techniques), Dynamic Logic (the world leader in digital marketing effectiveness) and Firefly Millward Brown (a global qualitative research business).

Jim Stengel is the former Global Marketing Officer of Procter & Gamble, where he had organizational responsibility for nearly 7,000 people. He has been named multiple times by Advertising Age as the number one "Power Player" in marketing and recognized as Grand Marketer of the Year by Brandweek magazine in 2005; in September 2011, he was named to the Fortune Executive Dream Team. He is currently President/CEO of The Jim Stengel Company, LLC, and adjunct Professor of Marketing at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. He is on the Board of Directors for AOL and the Motorola Mobility Board and serves as an Advisor for MarketShare, an industry-leading marketing analytics firm. Stengel appears regularly in the media, including Kudlow, the Wall Street Journal, Adweek, etc.

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For Millward Brown
Michelle Robertson, 646-279-5775


For Millward Brown
Michelle Robertson, 646-279-5775