This year, the NHS has been voted the most relevant brand by UK consumers in the latest Brand Relevance Index released by consultancy Prophet (http://www.prophet.com/). Following the NHS in second and third place are Spotify and Netflix. Lush and Samsung ae new entrants into the top 10, replacing Amazon and Android.
Outside of the top 10, big shifts are from ridesharing and wider automotive industries. Zipcar made its debut as the highest new entrant into the Index at 22, whilst Jaguar and Mini are the biggest climbers – Jaguar leaping up from 172nd in 2018 to 45th in 2019, and Mini jumping 105 spots.
The top ten most relevant brands
Discussing the results, Gabriela Henault, associate partner at Prophet, says: “When consumers are asked which brands matter most to them, it’s commonplace to see sleek, modern, consumer-orientated tech brands leading the pack – the globally renowned entertainers, connectors, communications devices and services providers. But with crises ranging from data breach scandals to sexual harassment allegations, many of the tech titans have experienced some serious reputational damages over the past 12 months, shattering much of the consumer trust in these corporations.
Issue of trust
“The results show that whilst consumers can’t imagine living without Google, only 59% trust it, unsurprisingly this dips even lower when it comes to Facebook with only 2% having trust in it. In these uncertain times we want, and need, strong and stable brands on which we can rely and depend, so the NHS’s rise to number one this year isn’t really too astonishing. Much more beloved than bemoaned, its increasing relevance speaks to the power of its purpose. And that’s where many British brands excel, they operate with a purpose and values consumers believe in. Lush is another prime example of a brand which has seen its relevance increase thanks to its tangible demonstrations of its principles that have effectively won consumer trust. Same goes for The Body Shop. British brands are definitely appealing to customers more now than ever before through their transparent, humanitarian, purpose-driven credentials.
“Whilst new technologies, business models and routes to market are continually upending traditional ways of achieving growth, one thing is steadfastly unchanging: brands with a maniacal focus on putting the customer and their values at the centre of what they do win the day.”
- British brands bounce back – following a gradual decrease in the success of British brands over the past three years, 2019 shows a resurgence of home-grown brands climbing back up the Index As well as the NHS, other notable high rankers include Lush (8) who moved into the top 10, John Lewis (23) and Pure Gym (29). The biggest climbs came from Jaguar (up 127 places) Mini (up 105 places) and BUPA (up 82 places).
- Declining trust in big tech – Apple (5) slipped from the number one spot this year after three consecutive years at the top. Whilst still deemed an irreplaceable part of life, consumers are increasingly suspicious of trusting big tech companies with personal data.
- Purpose-driven brands are hotter – with conscious consumerism on the rise, brands operating with purpose are more relevant than ever. LEGO (6), Ikea (18) and Lush (8) all appeal to UK consumers through the successful activation of their eco-credentials and shared values.
- Partnering for excellence – many of this year’s top performing brands are broadening their relevance with strategic partnerships, turning to others in order to scale innovation and deliver on what their customers need now, and in the future. Samsung (9) put an end to choppy gameplay when it partnered with Xbox (12) to co-develop an exceptional level of gaming performance on the QLED TV.
- Access trumps ownership – ownership continues to lose its value as many of the top-scoring brands are those that offer cost-effective, convenient access to experiential products and services. Uber (17), Zipcar (22) and Netflix (3) are prompting traditional brands within their respective industries to shake up their models in the coming year.
Lush’s co-founder and managing director Mark Constantine OBE, offers some advice to brands looking to reach the Index in 2020: “Always listen to the customer as much as you can and try and do what they ask.
“Focus on where you buy things from and your relationships with your suppliers – it really does make a difference. Also, employ vegans!”
Tom Connaughton, managing director of Spotify UK, also has some top tips: “At Spotify, we’re always exploring new ways to create better experiences for all our partners, labels, artists and, of course, our listeners, whilst also finding ways for our listeners to discover more. We strive to sustain relevance by continually testing new products and services based on tastes and trends – from giving the best access to all of the music and podcasts they love to finding new ways to help make it easier to discover new audio through a truly personalised experience. Some initiatives may work, some may not, but it’s in learning from quick innovation that we can inform our future road map and a platform our audience loves and trusts.”
Connaughton concludes that it is important to listen to your customers when building a relevant brand, and then invest in the right talent: “Along with continually listening to and evolving for your customers, it’s equally important for leaders to invest time in bringing the right people into the company: people who share your vision and strive to build a workplace that encourages creativity, innovation, collaboration and inclusion. At Spotify, learning and growing each day is core to our culture – and we know that it pays off in engagement, productivity and wellbeing for everyone, including our partners, labels, artists and, of course, our listeners.”
Prophet surveyed 50,000 consumers across the US, UK, Germany and China about 700 brands. It partnered with Dynata, a global provider of first-party consumer and professional data.
In the UK, Prophet surveyed 12,200 consumers on 235 brands across 26 industries. Companies from all industries that contribute materially to UK household spend were included, except brands in the tobacco and firearms categories or those engaged in primarily business-to-business categories. In some cases, smaller companies that are driving change in their respective industries were also included given their significant traction with consumers. The data was sourced from the Office for National Statistics’ 2018 Family Spending Report (UK).
Each participating consumer rated up to five brands within a single category on 16 different attributes that correspond to the four principles of relevance Prophet identified. To rate a brand, a consumer had to be familiar with the brand and a frequent consumer in the brand’s category. More information about the methodology can be found here.
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