BAV - Cultural Rankings
Edited from article submitted by Christina Lu
BAV Cultural Ranks Series: Australia
The BrandAsset Valuator (BAV) is a study of consumer brand perceptions, measuring brands on imagery and equity dimensions in a category agnostic fashion. By understanding and exploring a brand against the broader dynamics of culture, BAV can uniquely provide insight into a brand’s larger role in the evolving cultural marketplace and provide actionable insights that drive both brand growth, and the brand’s impact on culture.
BAV has been collecting cultural ranks of brands for 24 years to date, having spoken to over 1.2 million consumers globally. In Australia, BAV has been tracking thousands of brands on the same 75 brand association, including 48 imagery dimensions, since 1993. The evolution of the brandscape in Australia has been meticulously measured and studied by BAV and reflects the culture of the times and consumer attitudes.
BAV’s “Cultural Rankings” tool captures a snapshot of consumer mindset and market conditions measuring key brand dimensions that matter, from trust to innovation to social responsibility. When combined with other market-specific brand associations, the tool helps contextualize a brand’s cultural role, guiding marketplace positioning.
In Best Countries, Australia is known for having a high quality of life and desirable citizenship. In BAV, Australian brands also reflect these values; brands rated as high quality tend to have higher advocacy, pricing power, and respect in the marketplace. Quality is an expectation for strong brands, and it’s a trait that consumers have come to expect from iconic Australian products like Arnott’s biscuits or Qantas airlines who are strong ambassador brands for the nation.
However, quality has no impact on Brand Strength which is the top indicator of growth potential and momentum in BAV. Brands that have been able to sustain success embody the quality associated with Australia, and additionally a sense of adventure. A top indicator of strength is the Daring attribute, which has a unique meaning in Australia compared to other markets. Daring is related to Fun and Progressive in Australia, rather than perceptions of risk or unapproachability. As a result, brands that can deliver on Quality while maintaining Daring perceptions are well loved and compared to peers, earn 85% higher top preference, are perceived as 115% trendier, and are named ‘Best Brand’ 158% more often than the rest of the brandscape.
Two brands in particular have captured attention for their ability to deliver both quality and daring: JB HiFi and Boost Juice.
JB Hi-Fi was established in 1974 by Mr. John Barbuto (JB). He had one simple philosophy: to deliver a specialist range of Hi-Fi and recorded music at Australia's lowest prices. In October 2003, JB Hi-Fi was floated on the Australian Stock Exchange. Now, maintaining Barbuto's original philosophy, JB is one of Australasia's fastest growing and largest retailers of home entertainment. It sells a lot of high end electronics equipment. Yet JB defies logic. It looks like a jumble sale.
They have albums, videogames, and dvds all over the place, combined with specific areas for individual brands within store. Store pathways are narrow, and the typeface used looks like its been done in felt pen. The catalogues look like they have been cut and pasted by school kids, and when they occasionally go on tv their ads are just rushed shouting of promotional offers. It employs lots of young kids, but they seem to almost always know their stuff pretty well. Managers in the past have been known to describe the store in the following affectionate terms: ‘We are like a family run Fruit & Vegetable store that employs punks’. Those punks are exceptionally well trained. The company knows that many consumers conduct a lot of online research before they come into the store, so they know their employees have to be exceptionally well trained. Hence there is a very strong service-driven culture. This chaos is clearly at odds with the premium nature of the products, but it is the juxtaposition between the two that make JB Hi-Fi’s daring approach to retail a win.
Taking risks is in Boost Juice’s DNA; founder Janine Allis started the juice bar from her own kitchen after feeling uninspired by existing fast food options. Beginning with no business experience, and as a mother of young children, Allis had a vision of a lifestyle-led brand with a commitment to fresh and natural ingredients. It was a daring move; even banks were hesitant to fund the venture and Allis raised funds through friends. But one shop quickly turned into over 500 locations worldwide, and Boost Juice continues to be one of the most iconic Australian brands today.
Despite huge expansion, the brand hasn’t lost its original daring spirit. Boost Juice engages its fans with silly content filled with puns and culturally relevant jokes, like Bitcoin-themed sweepstakes. Quick service food often touts its functional benefits – cheap, fast, convenient – but Boost Juice lets the product and service speak for itself while letting the brand’s vision shine. This approach adds dimension to Boost Juice’s brand positioning, and proves that brands can be daring without sacrificing an image of quality.