FIVE WAYS TO BUILD HEALTHY JAPANESE BRANDS
Just as there are many contributors to human wellbeing, there are multiple factors that go toward building a healthy brand.
In an attempt to further understand what attributes contribute to Meaningful Difference, BrandZ™ analysis has identified five key attributes shared by strong and valuable brands. Brands that score highly on all five aspects are the most successful: they are “healthy” brands. The five aspects are:
- 1 A strong sense of brand purpose, meaning that the brand makes people’s lives better.
- 2 Innovation, defined as a brand being seen as a leader and change agent in their sector.
- 3 Strong communications, with creative, powerful, and memorable advertising.
- 4 A great brand experience that meets consumers’ needs, and is available when and where consumers need it.
- 5 A sense of brand love that’s built with consumers over time, and that helps to sustain the brand until the next innovation.
Brands can look at how they perform on individual components of vQ when they are seeking clues to improving their overall brand health. When one or more of the vital signs is lacking, general brand health can be suboptimal.
The vQ components are also a useful way to approach the challenge of cultivating Meaning, Salience, and Difference. The data shows that healthy brands tend to be Meaningfully Different ones.
It’s no surprise, then, that investing in brand vitality makes good business sense. A strong vQ score means a brand is meaningfully different, and this can drive growth in brand value. In fact, global data shows that “brands with a vQ score of 110 or more have a brand value almost 70 percent higher than brands with a low vQ score. Some of the best-known and most valuable brands globally are those with high vQ scores: names like Google and Ikea.
What’s the Prognosis?
The healthiest brands in the BrandZ™ Top 50 Most Valuable Japanese Brands ranking are those that score well on all five of the key health indicators: purpose, innovation, communications, experience, and love. They generate a Vitality Quotient (vQ) significantly higher than the 100-point average.
Healthy brands tend to develop a personality type that further reflects well on them. Those brands with a high vQ score are more likely to be described as trustworthy, “in control,” desirable, creative, and friendly. They under-index on negative brand personality traits, such as being uncaring or arrogant.
Brands with a high vQ are more strongly positioned for future value growth. In Japan, this effect is especially pronounced. Among the brands that make up the BrandZ™ Top 50, Healthy brands (i.e., those with vQ scores of 105 or above across all components) have an average value that’s 125% greater than brands with a Frail vQ profile (i.e., those with vQ scores below 100 on all components).
How Japanese Brands Measure Up
When comparing brand ecosystems from country to country, we typically analyze the first 30 brands on the various countries Top Brand’s list (this accounts for the fact that some BrandZ™ reports feature a Top 30, while others feature a Top 50 or Top 100).
The average vQ score of the BrandZ™ Japan Top 30 is 115 – the second-highest vQ average among the 13 brands analyzed in depth by BrandZ™; only China ranks higher.
What this means is that top Japanese brands are significantly healthier than the average global brand, which has a vQ score of 100. This is to be expected, and underlines the role of brand vitality in driving higher brand value.
That said, there is room for improvement when looking beyond the highest-performing Japanese brands. Compared to the global pool of brands analyzed by BrandZ™ (some 30,377 in all), the mix of vQ scores seen in overall pool of Japanese brands (a total of 1,290 brands) is only OK. There is a smaller proportion of brands that rate as frail, but also a smaller proportion of brands that rate healthy – meaning that more Japanese brands fall somewhere in the middle of the brand health spectrum.