What makes a brand great? Some lists of the most “valuable” brands base the rankings on financial statements. These lists weight heavily toward large, global brands that spend a lot on advertising.
But I believe that brand lives in the eyes of the beholder, namely customers. To that end, Prophet Brand Strategy, which is the parent company of Altimeter, conducted research that asked 10,000 US consumers to rate 400 brands across 27 categories along 16 different criteria [methodology]. The result is Prophet’s Brand Relevance Index (BRI), which debuted this week. [press release, Forbes article]
What I love about this study is that it breaks down and **measures** brand relevance across four principles that make a brand “relentlessly relevant” (see below). What we found was that brands that made it into the Top 50 mastered being Ruthlessly Pragmatic and at least one other principle.
Here’s a graphic listing the Top 50 most relevant brands:
Here are some of my reactions and insights:
Let’s take a closer look at what some of the Internet upstarts like Spotify and Etsy are doing to make it to the Top 50 – and what some major brands like Google and Facebook are not doing that keeps them out of this list of most relevant brands. For this analysis, I looked at the top Internet Services and Retailer brands in the Top 50 (Amazon, Spotify, Pandora, YouTube, and Etsy) and compared them to the rest of the Top 50 to see what they did better or worse.
Let’s take a closer look at the trust issue. While Google scored high on bring “ruthlessly pragmatic” and consumers felt Facebook “distinctly inspired them”, both missed being in the Top 50 because of lower trust rankings, relative to other brands.
Besides Amazon, only three other brands broke the top 100 when it came to consumers saying they strongly trust these brands – Pandora, Etsy, and Spotify. It’s clear to me that what separates an Internet brand from being a top relevant brand is this issue of trust.
And the problem extends across the entire category. As a group, the Internet brands ranked lower on trust than brands in other categories. In the survey, where consumers were asked to rate how much they trusted each brand in the study, AirBnb, Craigslist, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Uber, Vine, Waze and Yelp all found themselves in the bottom half of the rankings in the area of trust. On average, only 35% of consumers surveyed felt that they could strongly trust the Internet brands evaluated in this study.
What can these and other Internet/digital brands do about the “trust problem”? Rather than resign yourself and attribute the problem to simply being a digital brand, let’s take a closer look at Chik-fil-A, which ranks #4 on trust across ALL brands and blows the competition in its food services category out of the water. The company infuses a sense of purpose into everything it does and everyone it serves. Each order ends with “My pleasure”, and it certainly feels that way when you encounter the people at Chik-fil-A.
Internet companies need to systematically invest in building trust as much as they invest in building products and services. One way to do this is to read the research by my colleague, Susan Etlinger “The Trust Imperative” or watch her TED Talk, which lays out a framework on how to systematically build trust.
What Do You Think Are The Most Relevant Brands?
I’d love to hear your reaction to the list of the Top 50 most relevant brands. Which ones are you surprised didn’t make it? And in particular, what do you think these Top 50 brands do well to be relevant to their customers? After all, it’s why we invest in brands, so that they can be relevant to the people they serve.
Prophet’s Brand Relevance Index study identified the Top 50 Relentlessly Relevant Brand. Several digital brands broke into the top 50 — what did they do well to make it into this elite group of brands?
When I published the first in a new series of reports exploring the state and future of Digital Transformation, it was almost the antithesis of a typical technology report.
Altimeter’s recent research for its report, The 2014 State of Digital Transformation, uncovered that investing in new digital technologies (social, mobile, big data, cloud, etc.) doesn’t always equate to uniting those efforts around a common vision supported by an updated, integrated infrastructure.
A key factor to creating and delivering a great customer experience is the ability of a company’s workforce to modernize, use new technology platforms to connect with each other and customers, and most importantly, adopt a new mindset of openness and transparency.