• Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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BusinessDay

Millward Brown identifies top drivers of brand value growth

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 As brand owners are daily brainstorming in search of best marketing strategies to grow their brands, achieve high consumer loyalty and increase profit, Millward Brown, one of the world’s leading research agencies and expert in effective advertising, marketing communications and brand equity research, has identified top drivers of brand value growth that can assist marketers on their job.

In arriving at the top drivers of brand value growth, Millward Brown based its findings on analysis of eight ‘top brand risers’ and leading world top 100 brands that have gained value growth since 2006.

The top risers’ brands with strongest, most sustainable value growth over time it analysed are Subway, which has gained over 5,000 percent, Apple over 1000 percent, Amazon about 500 percent, Hermes about 300 percent, Verizon about 250 percent, McDonald about 230 percent, IBM and Google with 221 percent and 188 percent, respectively.

Analysing the eight top risers, the global marketing research agency therefore identified ‘great value’ as one of the drivers. It says it is not about price, but what you get for your money, stating that for instance, Hermès and Subway in particular, both offer great value. Another key driver is ‘relevance’ of the brand.

According to Millward Brown, continuing to renew the brand is essential to remain in contention over a number of years. It said “IBM’s reinvention as a greater-margin consultancy, which drives a ‘Smarter Planet’ is totally in tune with the spirit of today.”

Ability to harness technology is the third driver. The marketing communication agency says the brands analysed have harnessed technology, noting “being available 24/7, being social and being connected… no brand can afford to be out of touch nowadays. Amazon’s online customer management and purchase recommendation, for example, was a game changer.”

The global agency, which is set to release the top 100 brands today, also identified ‘reputation’ as key to successful growth. It says “how the brand really behaves today will be assessed globally, in a flash, so ‘what you stand for’ is a valuable component of a good reputation.” It may surprise some, but McDonald’s, it says, has an excellent reputation based on a clear brand promise and experience.

Other factors are ‘meaningful difference’ and ‘personality.’

On meaningful difference, it says consumers will stay loyal if they feel they are getting the best. “Brands that meet their needs are unique in a positive way and are ahead of the game in setting trends, and are more appealing, and generate the greatest contribution to driving current and future sales. Apple is the archetypal ‘meaningfully different’ brand, and has this to thank for its vital and living brand.”

On personality, it says a distinctive brand character is more likely to generate consumer passion and create brand advocates. It advises that brands should not worry about polarising opinion; it’s better to stand for something as Verizon is what BrandZ classifies as a ‘King’ – a brand that is assertive and in control but also wise, desirable and trustworthy. “All of the Top Risers have distinct personalities,” it says.

To the agency, another key factor is getting abroad as the eight brands analysed get abroad and about – expanding the offer using a brand’s meaningfully different positioning is a route to successful growth. It explains that apart from one French brand, all of the Top Risers are US-owned. And all, except Verizon to date, have moved into new territories chasing growth and success.

The eighth key driver of achieving brand value growth is having a great branded experience. From the analysis, it states that a brand is only as good as the consumer’s last experience. Recommendation is a powerful force and can make or break a brand, even more quickly in this connected world. Google has built its reputation and based its considerable innovation on continual delivery of the greatest experience.

In some markets, sometimes when brands fail in any of the key drivers, they result to promos to lure customers, but according to experts, this strategy is not sustainable. The eight top risers combined have increased the analysed brands total value by 329 percent since 2006 – this compares with 66 percent for the entire BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands.

Peter Walshe, Global BrandZ director at Millward Brown, says in a statement that “a strong brand is a valuable commodity, and our analysis reinforces its importance as a source of sustainable competitive advantage and value growth. Each of the Top Risers owes its stellar performance to the fact that it has prioritised brand-building strategies that enabled it to drive sales, stand apart from competitors and command a price premium. The results also highlight the importance of brands in understanding consumers’ needs and continually adjusting and adapting to make themselves meaningfully different and relevant.”

 

DANIEL OBI

Media Business Editor