Social Impact Barometer ranks how young people view brands

social impact barometer - we are futures

We Are Futures, the brand and social impact agency that helps businesses engage with young people, has created a Social Impact Barometer to analyse, measure and rank 100 top brands according to how 16-24 year-olds think and feel about them.

Social Impact Barometer 2022

The results from the 2022 Social Impact Barometer, released today, rank Nintendo, Google and Adidas top of the charts for paying attention, staying relevant and managing to connect and engage with 16-24 year olds.

Meanwhile Apple consistently ranks highest among its young employees, with Costa, eBay, Depop and NatWest featuring in the most recent top five, and Spotify and Google also scoring well through the pandemic years, when employee morale was in the spotlight.

Tech & Entertainment was the sector that generated the highest volume of conversation, both positive and negative, among young people, and was also the highest-ranked sector driving conversations about sustainability, with Apple and Google faring best in that space.

The data looks back over the past three years so can also act as a barometer to show which brands are the rising stars of youth engagement. 

NatWest was shown to have made the most gains since 2019, rising 72 places in the overall rankings, while IKEA and LinkedIn also saw consistent gains across key social impact criteria areas.

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Ranking 100 brands across all sectors, the Social Impact Barometer blends employee, customer and future customer data, and scores brands according to their emotional connection with 16-24 year olds, their role as career makers (from skills development to mentoring, coaching and employability), the role brands play in individual development (including wellbeing, equality and diversity), within the community and sustainability.

We Are Futures is able to show how brands are ranking not only against other businesses in their sector but also against those in other sectors. 

Marketers can also see the long-term progression of their brand and get an understanding of young peoples’ sentiment towards their business.

A proprietary tool, the Social Impact Barometer profiles over 85,000 young people at 22 million data points – including Twitter and Glassdoor – and conducts an in-depth language analysis across social media, job sites, websites and corporate reports.

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Daniel Kranz, Head of Strategy & Networks at We Are Futures, devised the tool: “Brands thrive when they connect in a meaningful and authentic way. 

“From being seen as an employer of choice that accelerates careers to being a brand that tackles societal needs, there are numerous ways for brands to stand out; not just amongst direct competitors, but across verticals.

Top line view

“The Social Impact Barometer helps brands gain a top line view of where they stand, what 16-24 year olds think, feel and care about and whether they see your brand play a part in that or not. What do people say about you when you are not in the room? What drives people to actively talk about you online, both positively and negatively?

“How do you as a marketeer, CSR and HR professional continue to build a brand that stays in the hearts and minds of those it serves? 

“The Social Impact Barometer is a simple way to pause and see where you are at and, most importantly, is a checkpoint to establish where you want to be.”

We Are Futures works with brands to devise programmes that help them connect with young people in a positive way for a deeper long term relationship. 

Recent client work includes the Sky Arts’ Access All Arts programme, NatWest’s MoneySense and Warburton’s Bake the Most of Life.  

Mark Fawcett, CEO and founder of We Are Futures, said: “This audience – known as Emerging Adults – are digital natives who are principled, passionate about big issues, and have significant influence. 

“Their value as consumers, employees and drivers of trends will grow enormously over the next few years so it is crucial that brands are reaching this demographic.

“I’ve seen first hand that with the right approach you can spark something incredibly positive in young people that transcends background, experiences and academic prowess.

“How a brand is perceived publicly no longer just comes down to the type of ads they put out, it is a combination of their marketing, their community involvement, the benefits they offer to consumers and the way they connect and engage with people individually.

“A CMO who is not considering everything from touchpoints to tone of voice, messaging and value add will miss out on the opportunity to future proof their business.”

We Are Futures has already started to share the insights from its Social Impact Barometer data with existing clients, who also include Samsung, Unilever, Duracell and McDonald’s.