Key characteristics of successful brands

TRENDAFRiCA June 3, 2013

The total brand value of the WPP BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands has grown steadily since the report was introduced in 2006, the survey notes, and the top risers during the eight year period, have increased 425% in brand value. There are eight noteworthy characteristics that distinguish the most valuable brands.

Half of the eight fastest risers come from the technology category:

  • Apple increased in brand value by 1 058%.
  • Amazon by 664%.
  • SAP by 259%.
  • IBM by 212%.
  • Telecom Verizon rose 256% in brand value.

The other top risers were from diverse categories, including:

  • Luxury brand Hermes up 296%.
  • Apparel brand Zara up 295%.
  • Fast food brand Subway achieved the largest brand value increase: a 5 798% increase.

There are several factors that account for the overall brand value rise in the survey and the extraordinary performances of these few fastest riser brands. What distinguishes the most valuable brands and enables steady growth, driving brand value and financial success are down to these eight characteristics, the BrandZ survey notes:

1.       Great value

It is not about price, but what you get for your money. Hermes and Subway both offer great value.

2.       Relevant for today

Continuing to renew the brand is essential to remain in contention. IBM reinvention, with its higher margin consultancy that drives a ‘Smarter Planet’ is totally in tune for today.

3.       Harnessing technology

Being available 24/7, being social, being connected, is not just the domain of social media. No brand can afford to be out of touch nowadays. Amazon’s online customer management and purchase recommendation was a game changer.

4.       Reputation

How the brand genuinely behaves today will be assessed immediately, globally, in a flash. Brand strength, what you stand for, it’s a valuable component of a good reputation. SAP is rated in the BrandZ research as being particularly responsible as a company. And this underpins a good reputation.

5.       Meaningfully different

Consumers will stay loyal if they feel they are getting the best. To consumers, brands that meet their needs are more appealing. These brands are unique in a positive way. Consumers see them as ahead of the game in setting trends. These brands generate the greatest contribution to driving current and future sales. Apple is the archetypical ‘meaningfully different’ brand. Analysts and stock market sentiment might at times be more negative, but Apple has a vital and living brand.

6.       Personality

A distinctive brand character is more likely to generate consumer passion and create brand advocates. Brands should not worry about polarising opinion. It’s better to stand for something. Verizon is what BrandZ classifies as a ‘King’- a brand that is “assertive and in control, but wise, desirable and trustworthy”. Each of the top eight risers has a distinct personality.

7.       Get abroad and about

Expansion of the offer using the brand in its meaningfully different positioning is a route to successful growth. All, except Verizon to date, have moved into new international territories, chasing growth and success. Being present in growth markets in this global economy is a must if the brand has a relevant offer.

8.       A great branded experience

A brand is only as good as its last experience. Recommendation is a powerful force and can make or break a brand even more quickly in this connected world. Zara has built its reputation and based its considerable innovation on delivering fashion fast, which provides a great consumer experience.


Source: WPP BrandZ survey

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