The 2019 Observatoire du Sens

Laurence Peyraut
Danone France


François Miquet-Marty


Jean-Pierre Haemmerlein


Cécile Ribour


Download the main findings of the 2019 WELLCOM Observatoire du Sens

Six in 10 French people consider the idea of meaning important.

To win the public’s support and commitment, a brand must now have meaning, which is often expressed by a purpose.

In 2018 the Observatoire du sens® revealed that the ideas of mission, values and responsibility are decisive, but keeping up with changes in society and meeting its expectations are essential.

For a brand, meaning goes beyond its first meaning (significance), which must be fully accepted, a story, a narrative towards a symbolic or sublimated meaning and a social contract (inspiration) that will be activated (activation) in its relationship with its various publics.


Giving a company and a brand meaning is an in-depth process and a coherent approach to its three dimensions: Significance, Inspiration and the Relationship with its various publics by taking their different typologies into account.

1) Significance: the first meaning

This is an objective reality that describes the anchorage, in other words the history and identity, and could be called the main mission, of which the French have very high expectations when it comes to responsibility.

2) Inspiration: the subliminal meaning

This is meaning as direction. It’s a subjective reality that defines the vision of the future, the purpose and what could be called the social and environmental contract. It connects the brand to society.

3) Relationship: shared meaning

There is meaning if and only if the target public is “brought onboard“. This requires telling stories (about the brand, commitment, proof, etc.) and bringing them alive through communication. A brand’s meaning takes shape when there’s a close relationship with its internal and external target publics.



  • Analysing perception (internal and external public)
  • Defining purpose and corporate values and giving them form*
  • Making strategic recommendations for implementation and roll-out
  • Drawing up activation plans

* Corporate values:
Wellcom has taken a specific approach to shaping and implementing company values since 2003. It’s published several studies on the subject, in particular the Index International des Valeurs®, (a multi-year survey of 4,000 companies in 15 countries) and Etude sur les Valeurs et la politique (Study of Values and Politics). Two books have been published: Les Valeurs (“Values”, Eyrolles, 2009) and L’entreprise en 80 valeurs (The Company in 80 Values), Liaisons, 2011).