Introducing the Dynamo Brands

Introducing the Dynamo Brands

Through most of the 20th Century, there were certain fundamentals that guaranteed brand growth: scale, physical presence, media dominance, and historical equity. In the recent years, digital has altered the rules of the business playing field across every category. Now, scale is not the guarantor of growth if once was. And billion-dollar brands are being built in a matter of months- sometimes without traditional media or a retail presence. Four of the world’s five largest companies weren’t even listed in top 30 brand rankings a decade ago.


The new challenge for businesses is to nurture the fundamentals which have always built brands, whilst embracing new behaviours with the potential to super-charge growth in the digital economy. Brands need the Energy to move fast, connect relentlessly and engage constantly, and need the Direction to move with purpose, inspire loyalty, and create relevance. Dentsu Creative Agencies collaborated with The Effectiveness Partnership to develop a model aiming at identifying and understanding these dynamo brands. The Dynamo Brand Index (DBI) uses answers from over 22,000 consumers in 10 countries and scoring algorithms to track the Energy and Direction of the world’s biggest and most prominent up-and-coming brands. It is a measure of where a brand is moving to, not where it has been.


Dynamo Brands Graph


Dynamo Brands create Energy by focusing on continual improvement and are defined more by their values than by their form. They drive Direction by creating clarity in consumer’s mind about what their brand offers, and build trust in their company, not just their product.


Behind the success of dynamo brands


1. Dynamism has nothing to do with age. There’s almost no correlation between age and dynamism. Established brands like Visa and Samsung sit alongside relative newcomers like WhatsApp. It proves established brands can be just as dynamic as the most agile start-ups if they harness Energy and create engagement.


2. One can buy a little bit of energy but can’t buy dynamism. Although there is some positive correlation between advertising spend and Energy in a few markets, the model suggests that brands cannot deliver High Energy through advertising alone – brand actions are as important as brand communications, and constantly finding new ways to connect is a critical part of building Energy. And when it comes to Dynamo Brands, one can’t buy that status.


3. Direction turns energy into impact. For many Firework Brands aiming at achieving High Energy, achieving reach becomes a primary focus of their strategy. However, low scores for Direction are linked to negative sentiment, which means that high Energy activity pursued without Direction can have a negative impact on the brand. Clarity and relevance are vital drivers of sentiment – and should be considered just as important as chasing reach.


4. A balance between energy and direction is important. The DBI reveals brands that are high on Energy, low on Direction, and vice versa. These are brands with immense opportunity. Either they have a strong vision and purpose, which gives them Direction (e.g., Dell), or they are constantly employing new forms of creativity, which keeps them top-of-mind (e.g., WhatsApp). The opportunity lies in marrying the two.


5. Energy is scarcer than direction. Brands in Western markets have very structured and established approaches to brand building, which means they skew higher for Direction – but may be lacking Energy. It’s possible that very structured ways of brand building may now be holding some brands back. Eastern markets like Thailand, India and Japan see a good balance between Energy and Direction.


Top 5 Global Dynamo Brands



Go to to explore the Dynamo Brand Index full rankings, insights and market deep dives.


The Dynamo Brand Index expands each year to track a growing number of brands. Get in touch through the website to request your brand to be added in the index.


Dynamo Brands have a mix of Old and New economy traits. The Old Economy was very much about Direction: brands had a good understanding of what they stood for and stayed true to their brand fundamentals. The New Economy is very much about Energy and agility – but without Direction, Energy won’t guarantee success. It’s not an either-or. It’s a fusion.


This article is excerpted from the report Future Focus 2020: The Next Ten Years. Download it now for key insights on the macro trends that shape the new digital economy.