UK highlights 2018
Nation’s strongest brands post 5% annual growth
Top 75 brands worth over £200 billion
The combined value of the BrandZ Top 75 Most Valuable UK Brands is US$271 billion (around £205 billion). This value is equivalent to just over 10 percent of national GDP. The value of the Top 50 in this year’s ranking (selected as last year’s ranking was the Top 50 only), the combined value of brands has risen 5 percent. Among the 49 brands that are common to both years’ rankings, value growth was 4 percent.
Telecom giant tops ranking for second year
Vodafone takes pride of place at the top of the BrandZ Top 75 ranking once again, with a brand value of $28,860 million – up 6 percent in the past 12 months. The business serves almost 20 million UK customers with mobile, fixed line, broadband and TV services, and has a further 424 million international customers. A rebrand in late 2017 brought Vodafone a new logo – a speech mark – and a new tagline: “The Future is Exciting. Ready?”. Recent advertising has focused on the speed of home broadband connections, and the launch of a sub-brand, VOXI, aimed at young consumers.
Innovation supercharges value
Innovation isn’t just a way to be seen as cool or capture some headlines; true innovation that’s recognized by consumers as shaking up or leading a category actually adds to the dollar value of a brand. The most innovative brands in the ranking have collectively grown in value by 18 percent in just 12 months, while the least innovative brands have actually lost value, to the tune of 7 percent. Among the Top 10 innovators this year are Dyson, Deliveroo, BrewDog and Sky.
Strong brands beat the stock market
Investing in brands is just that – an investment – and one that pays handsome dividends. In the eight months to July this year, the average share price of the Top 50 brands in our 2018 ranking grew 9.3 percent, while over the same period, the FTSE 100 grew just 1.1 percent. That means for every £1,000 invested in shares, a person with a BrandZ-driven portfolio would have made an additional £82 over someone with an index tracker.
Growth comes from range of sectors
The fastest-growing brands in the ranking this year come from categories as varied as banks and paint, airlines and apparel. The variety of categories represented among the Top 10 risers shows that by nurturing brand equity, it’s possible to outperform the sector and even buck a declining trend affecting a particular industry. The fastest-rising brand in 2018 was Prudential, with a 40 percent rise in brand value, followed by Dyson, ASOS, Dulux and NatWest.
Smaller brands are strong challengers
Lower-ranking brands might not have the financial might of those at the top of the Top 75, but they stand out for being different in a way that consumers find meaningful, and this is a powerful driver of brand equity. What’s important is that these smaller brands are improving their scores year by year, while the meaningful difference scores of the Top 10 brands in the ranking have been declining over the past decade. This should serve as a warning to the bigger brands – there are challengers on their tails.
Food and drink-related brands tend to be the most innovative in the UK, with brands like Deliveroo and Just Eat helping the category to an average innovation score nine percentage points higher than the average UK brand. This sector is closely followed by the telecommunications sector, where industry leaders such as Sky, Virgin and EE are showing what’s possible with new products and services – and strong communications to make sure consumers know they’re innovating.
Pure online brands are small but influential
Brands born in the age of the internet and which have built their entire business model on consumer connectivity are still small in terms of brand value, worth less than half of the more established brands, on average. But these online brands, such as Asos, Very, Comparethemarket and Ocado, are seen by consumers as being far more creative and innovative than other brands, as well as providing a better experience. This leads to stronger feelings of love for these brands, even though they tend to be much younger than brands that aren’t a pure online player.
Top learnings for marketers
1 A healthy brand means a valuable brand
The fastest risers in the UK ranking over the past year perform significantly better than other brands on the BrandZ measure of health. This metric takes into account how well a brand performs in five key areas: purpose, innovation, communication, experience and love. Strength in any one of these areas is an advantage for a brand, but the strongest brands perform well on all of them and create a multiplier effect.
2 Have a mission, promote it, and deliver on it
The brands that have a strong purpose, and articulate that purpose clearly and effectively to consumers, are those that supercharge their brand value growth. Ensuring that the brand’s purpose – essentially, it’s reason for existing, other than to make money – is translated into consumers’ experience of the brand, this also provides a catalyst for growth. Purpose, communications and experience can each contribute to increases of between 8 and 13 percent a year.
3 Innovation is essential
Innovation is one of the five elements of brand vitality, and is closely linked to experience and love. Brands that are innovative – and are recognized as such by consumers because they clearly communicate their innovations – tend to be loved more. This love sustains a brand in the gaps between innovations. But there’s more to innovation than creativity. The most innovative brands are not just creative, they’re seen as leading their category, and shaking things up.
4 Young or old, all brands can create growth
Younger brands tend to be seen as more different to others in their category, and older brands are more well-known among consumers, but this is not a hard and fast rule. Some of the country’s most innovative brands are well into middle age, in fact the number one brand for innovation, Dulux, is over 100 years old, and Royal Mail – seventh among the most innovative – has more than three centuries of history. Strong brands can, and do, defy conventions linked to their age.
5 Be different, in a way consumers care about
Being different to other brands is one way of standing out from the crowd, but it’s important that what sets a brand apart is seen as important to the people it’s targeting. We call this “meaningful difference” and it’s this that makes a difference to success in the market and a rise in brand value.