Clean, comfortable and low-tech brands beat out trendsetting technology brands in Landor’s 2013 Breakaway Brands study. The study uses data from Young & Rubicam Group’s proprietary BrandAsset Valuator (BAV) to rank which brands grew in strength over a three-year period.
“Venerable household brands topped this year’s list through excellence in classic marketing strategies that have powered winning brands for decades,” said Mich Bergesen, global director of financial services at global strategic brand consulting and design firm Landor, who led the research study. “They certainly included twenty-first–century tactics like digital and social in the execution, but it was smart, fundamental market strategy built on these brands’ core strengths that made the difference.”
Key elements that were responsible for helping brands sustain long-term growth include:
- Insightful market research: At the top of Landor’s Breakaway Brands list, Quilted Northern began its road to success in 2008 when the brand launched its 3-ply Ultra Plush toilet paper in response to market research that showed that affluent women over 45 years of age were willing to pay more for cleanliness. Its scores jumped more than 1000 percent between 2009 and 2012.
- Smart innovation and product extensions. Breakaway Brands #2 ranked Jockey introduced its Staycool technology and the antimicrobial Jockey Sport line. Dixie (#7) expanded beyond paper cups to a super strong line of disposable products called Dixie Ultra. Febreze (#6) launched Febreze Sport and Febreze Sleep Serenity. While it was once just a burritos and taquitos line, Jose Ole (#8) now offers almost everything you’d find in a Mexican restaurant. The oldest brand on the list, Thomas’ (#9), known for its English muffin, now makes bagel thins and pitas. Lego (#10) targeted girls with its Lego Friends line.
- Demonstrating social responsibility. In the aftermath of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, Dawn (#3) used its soap to clean affected animals. This year, it used TV advertising and launched a series of YouTube videos about how Dawn is used in oil cleanup efforts that featured Rob Lowe’s narration and compelling footage of animals—winning over the hearts of more consumers.
- Targeted engagement. Amazon’s (#4) Amazon Prime program delivers highly relevant and valuable perks to repeat customers. Jockey’s Twitter campaign encourages users to hashtag their workout updates with #everydayathlete.
Two of 2012’s top Breakaway Brands Apple and Keurig demoted to 2013’s “Watch List”
In addition to the 10 breakaway brands, Landor chose five brands for its 2013 “Watch List.” Included are last year’s ranked Breakaway Brands Apple and Keurig, in addition to Reynolds Wrap, Microsoft Windows, and Ford Sync. The “Watch List” brands have shown exceptional brand strength in the past years, but now face uncertainty in the long-term.
The Apple iPhone remains the most desired smartphone in the market. However, as new Android handsets continue to hit the market, it is unclear whether or not Apple’s consumers will remain loyal. With the announcement of iOS 7 and the new iPhones, there is a chance Apple can correct its slowing iPhone ownership and global market share slide.
With the expiration of K-Cup patents, Keurig’s leadership in the market is uncertain despite its strong partnerships with Green Mountain, Starbucks, and Dunkin’ Donuts. Its ability to survive amid a sea of me-too competitors will dictate the brand’s long-term potential.
About Landor’s Breakaway Brands study
First published in 2004, Landor’s annual Breakaway Brands® study provides a unique look at brands that have exhibited a sustained, quantifiable increase in brand strength over a three-year period.
Brand strength is determined using three years of consumer survey data from the BAV U.S. database. Landor analyzed data for approximately 2,500 brands across industries, based on interviews with more than 15,000 consumers annually, evaluating against 48 different measures of brand health. By comparing brand performance on key measures that drive consumer preference and choice—specifically, the brand’s differentiation (including its distinctiveness, innovation, and dynamism)—and the brand’s relevance (how appropriate it is to a consumer’s life), Landor identifies those brands that increased their scores most dramatically. When a brand grew significantly on both measures (an indication of true brand strength) and these numbers were sustained over the three-year period, they became candidates for the Breakaway Brands list.
Later, Landor partnered with students from Wake Forest University’s School of Business to conduct secondary research on key actions undertaken by brand owners to enhance performance and identify the strategies and initiatives employed to sustain brand growth over three years. The selected finalists are therefore not necessarily the biggest brands, but brands that proactively built brand strength most consistently over time.
Polling consumers in the United States on a quarterly basis for their perceptions of brands, BAV identifies and analyzes brand strength and trends based on four pillars of brand building: differentiation, relevance, esteem, and knowledge.
To date, BAV tracks brands in more than 51 countries, covers some 50,000 brands, has conducted interviews with more than 750,000 consumers, and includes dozens of brand metrics and attitudinal questions. BAV is part of Young & Rubicam Group, a partnership of companies that includes Landor.