The Blake Project, the brand consultancy behind Branding Strategy Insider, delivers interactive brand education workshops and keynote speeches designed to align marketers on essential concepts in brand management and empower them to release the full potential of the brands they manage.
Category: Top 100 Brands
Branding Strategy Insider welcomes and answers marketing questions of all types. Today's question comes from Petra, a third-year marketing student in Copenhagen, Denmark. She asks:
“For a key assignment I must uncover why many of the top brands in the world are American. Please tell me, is there something within the American culture that gives brands an edge? Are the market conditions different? How come American brands are so successful?”
Petra, thanks for asking, this is a very interesting question. I will give you several hypotheses to explore as you write your paper. Distribution is a key contributor to strong brands because it drives awareness and accessibility (two of the five brand insistence drivers per our BrandInsistenceSM brand equity measurement model). It also leads to economies of scale. The first brands to have aggressively gone global will have several advantages in the marketplace. And, having a large domestic market makes it easier to successfully take a brand global.
Consumer understanding through marketing research is another area to explore. A brand that can anticipate consumer needs and appeal to consumers emotionally, experientially, self-expressively and regarding the alignment of core values will do better than brands that have not uncovered and exploited these consumer insights. Generally, I believe US brands do a good job of leveraging these types of consumer insights, which gives them an advantage.Read More
The successful creation and management of brands will be the hallmark of business leadership in the 21st century. Does that sound bold? Perhaps, but the world today is far different from what it was only a couple of decades ago and these structural changes have placed brands at the forefront of business success. A review of stocks in the S&P index shows that businesses that own stronger brands perform significantly better than businesses that own weaker brands.
According to Millward Brown Optimor’s analysis, in 1980 virtually the entire value of an average S&P 500 company was comprised of tangible assets (chairs, factories, inventory, etetera). In 2010, tangible assets account for only 30 to 40 percent of a company’s value. The rest is intangible value, and about half of that intangible portion, close to 30 percent of total business value, is attributed to brands. Therefore it is not a stretch to say that for many companies, brand is their single biggest asset. What has led to this change in what matters to business success?
Why is brand driving business leadership – the Post-Information Era
The technological advances of the 20th century generated more prosperity than ever existed before. Consumers in developed markets came to have almost limitless choices in almost every category. What is more, as companies innovated into new spaces, there are now many new categories to choose from.
Abundance and prosperity have allowed companies to redefine what consumers “need.” Yet wealth hasn’t necessarily made us much happier. As Daniel Pink writes in A Whole New Mind, “The paradox of prosperity is that while living standards have risen steadily decade after decade, personal, family and life satisfaction haven’t budged. That’s why more people – liberated by prosperity but not fulfilled by it – are resolving the paradox by searching for meaning.” This quest for meaning has huge implications for brands. As people find their basic consumption needs satisfied, brands are uniquely positioned to help add a higher order of meaning and fulfillment to purchase decisions, and consumers’ lives.Read More
Brand rankings remind me of college rankings. (I worked as a college admissions volunteer leader for years.) Each ranking entity establishes its own ranking based on its own criteria weighted in its own way. Some focus on overall rankings, while others focus on rankings within certain categories. The rating entities jockey for brand position just as the brands they rate do.
US News and World Report ranks Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Columbia and Stanford as the top five national universities. In its separate national liberal arts college ranking, Williams, Amherst, Swarthmore, Middlebury and Wellesley make the top five.
Forbes ranks the following as the top five among America’s top 50 colleges: Williams, Princeton, Amherst, United States Military Academy and MIT.
Newsweek lists the 25 Hottest Universities in a variety of categories. For instance, it lists Cornell as the Hottest Ivy, Eastman School of Music as the Hottest Music School, Harvard as the Hottest for Rejecting You, Johns Hopkins as the Hottest for Pre-Meds and Georgetown as the Hottest Big-City School.
Princeton Review also ranks top colleges in different categories. For instance, it names Georgia Top Party School, Brown Happiest Students, Bowdoin Best College Food and Sewanee Most Beautiful Campus.
The Fiske Guide rates private school best buys and public school best buys (many colleges listed in each category).Read More
The Blake Project offers a unique workshop that is designed to dial up your customers’ emotional connection to your brand. Here’s how it works. First, we talk with your customers to understand what emotional connection currently exists and to what degree and then we gain your consensus on what types of emotional connection you would like to increase. Next, we lead you in a series of ideation sessions in which we design sources of increased emotional connection against your objectives. Finally, we prioritize the ideas generated in the ideation sessions and pull it all together in a written report of recommended actions.
In the research, we seek to understand how your brand connects with its customers and with which customer attitudes and values it is best aligned. We will conduct this exploration by customer segment if required. In our consensus building session with you, we also probe to understand by what values your organization strives to live and with what personality attributes. The ideation sessions are highly facilitated. They include a broad array of creativity exercises and ideation techniques and are always energizing for its participants.
We will often organize the sessions by customer touch point and will explore how different behaviors, processes and senses could affect your customers’ emotional connection to your brand. We apply a speciﬁc set of evaluation criteria to the ideas generated at the ideation sessions to insure that the ones you choose have the highest impact and ROI possible.Read More
The economy may be in freefall and advertising forecasts bleak, but this year's Millward Brown Optimor BrandZ survey reveals the world's first $100bn brand – Google.
While this news may be of little surprise and will provide cold comfort to struggling broadcasters (famously, the brand has never advertised on TV), the research does, however, underline the enduring power of strong brands. It also serves as a timely reminder that pulling back marketing support may well provide a quick fix to a company's bottom line, but is often to the long-term detriment of the business.
Despite the turbulence in the global economy, the value of the top 100 brands has risen by 2% in the past year to $1.95tn. A total of 85 of the top 100 brands remain in the table from last year. By category, the biggest faller was insurance (-48%) followed by cars (-22%) and financial institutions (-11%). On the flip side, mobile operators experienced the biggest growth in brand value (+28%), followed by soft drinks (+24%) and coffee (+18%).
There are also reasons to be cheerful -in the UK-, which is outperforming the broader market. The value of the top 10 UK brands has grown by 11% over the past year, compared with a 2% rise for all global brands. UK brands also account for half the growth in the global mobile category – the strongest brand category in the world. Vodafone and O2 together account for more than a quarter of that category-wide growth.
The recession is clearly not having a negative impact across all brands and categories; one of the big positive trends is the growth in popularity of activities undertaken at home that traditionally would have been done elsewhere. The ease and convenience of online shopping, for example, has been the driving force behind brands such as Amazon (+85%) and eBay (+16%).Read More