Brands are an intrinsic part of everyday life and the love of a brand can run deep (as can the dislike). We all have our favourite brand, one that we are loyal to and will use above all others, these brand affinities differ from person to person, organisation to organisation and are influenced by numerous factors.
Last month, The Guardian published the results of 2016’s Superbrands study, which revealed some of Britain’s most loved brands with some surprising and unsurprising results.
Superbrands is an independent research study which establishes the country’s leading brands for both the consumer and business audience, taking the opinions of thousands of members of the Great British public and leading business professionals into account and assessing over 1,600 British brands.
So what is a Superbrand?
Each brand is judged on three key factors, quality, reliability and distinction.
This year’s results highlighted that some brands tend to dip in and out of the Top 20 spots, rising one year and falling the next, sometimes dropping off the leader board completely. It is clear that brands can quickly fall out of favour, however, Rolls-Royce was the only brand to fall out of the Top 20 Business Superbrands this year, perhaps due to the bribery allegations and profit warnings they have faced, which would have had an impact on their reputation.
In the last year, many brands took a tumble off the Consumer Top 20 leader board. Cadburys and Sony for example, were both in the Top 20 last year but neither has been able to regain their positon on the leader board this year. This is surprising, as they are both huge brands within their respective fields but it does highlight the prevalence of which scores and positions can fluctuate even for industry leaders. Some brands can struggle to regain momentum and re-engage with consumers to recapture their position. There is a stark difference in the amount of variation within the consumer and business lists, the consumer list wavers constantly year to year whereas the business list appears to be more static. This could be due to the more limited choices businesses have for quality brands whereas consumers have an abundance of brand options available to them and brands are fighting harder than ever for their attention.
It’s interesting to note that British Airways have topped both the Consumer and Business list top spot, ranking Number 1 on both lists for the second year running. They are consistently scoring (or soaring) higher than other brands and this is due, in part, to their continuous commitment to putting the customer first and at the heart of everything they do. Being featured on both top spots shows that they are doing this right! British Airways are, and always have been at the forefront of aviation innovation, implementing multiple industry firsts and ensuring these practises translate into benefits for the consumer.
For the everyday consumer, British Airways symbolises a trustworthy, reliable travel provider and for the business travellers they signify a premium, luxurious in-flight experience. Both the everyday consumer and business executives value the high quality and reliability of British Airways and their innovative style, which are the key strengths of British Airway’s reputation and indeed, the scoring criteria of what makes a Superbrand!
Successful brands are the ones who form deep bonds with consumers and professionals and are rewarded for their efforts with continued loyalty. This is proving difficult for the newer, more technologically focused brands to replicate. For example Facebook and Snapchat, who, despite an expectation that they would breakthrough and shake up the Top 20 this year, are still yet to make much of an impact on the leader board and replace some of the more iconic, traditional brands in the nations most loved lists.
Google, Microsoft, Apple, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are all featured on both the Consumer and Business lists which is an interesting crossover, in that technology brands and airlines seem to be just as important to and most favoured by the everyday consumer and the business executive. Apple is perhaps not a surprise, the everyday consumer is usually in constant contact with an apple product, their much loved iPhone, iPad, iPod or even Mac. All of these products are transferrable to a business setting and are used just as often. The main draw with Apple is their continuous strive for innovation, always updating and adding features to their products and producing high quality, reliable products each and every time. Core features of a Superbrand and ones clearly recognised by consumers!
It is clear that consumers value the quality and reliability offered by more traditional brands. In order to stay atop of the lists brands must engage with, and put the consumer at the heart of their offering to ensure loyalty remains strong. As evidenced by a few notable falls from grace, brands do have to keep working on their offering to retain a Superbrand position, constant innovation and continuous high quality products and services are integral to success and brands can face a backlash from any negativity throughout the year.
The full Top 20 Consumer and Businesses Superbrand lists are below: