In our third annual ranking of B.C.’s top brands, we shift the focus from love to influence–and the results might surprise you

Who wants to be loved when you can have influence instead? Is it worth seeking both love and influence? Those are a couple of the questions we asked this year as we revamped our annual Most Loved Brands in B.C. list to reflect what we think is arguably a more powerful ranking of B.C.’s top brands. As Michael Rodenburgh, vice-president for Western Canada for Ipsos, our research partner, explains, “Brand love is highly correlated with commercial activity and advertising.” Influence, meanwhile, “is more reflective of not only the relationship that somebody has with a brand, but how much that brand affects their life. It’s a lot more about the impact.”

The list of B.C.’s most influential brands is dominated by institutional names—BC Hydro, Telus, YVR, Fortis, ICBC—while the “love list” has more retail types: Purdys, A&W, London Drugs. That makes sense, given Rodenburgh’s comment about impact: ICBC, loved or not, has more impact on our lives than A&W, as much as we might love that storied burger joint.

“Big brands have very big impacts on people’s lives,” says Rodenburgh. “Take Google, for example,” he says of the No. 1 brand on Ipsos’s national ranking of influential brands. “Google has a significant influence over people today. At a more local level, big British Columbian brands have similar influence over us.” He points to the dominance of Crown corps on the local list—BC Hydro, WorkSafeBC, ICBC—and notes that these brands have impact “because of a legislative scope that allows a public brand to have more influence than they have love.”

“The most influential brands are part of our daily lives, our routine, and ultimately they help make life better, more interesting and more meaningful,” says Rodenburgh. “Achieving that is no easy task.”