Apple attracts UK consumers

21 January 2011

LONDON: UK consumers see Apple, Rolls-Royce and Cadbury as some of the world's most desirable brands, Clear has found.

The consultancy interviewed 4,000 people about 300 brands, asking contributors to assess whether the goods concerned elicited feelings of attraction, pride and respect.

Participants also revealed if they would be keen to use the relevant brand and described the values associated with it, such as "ambition", "carefulness", "excitement", "sensitivity" and "spontaneity".

Having identified the 100 best-performing brands, Clear measured their financial results against those recorded by members of the S&P 500.

It reported that a company owning at least one of the assets favoured by respondents generated a payback of 12.8% over the last five years, compared to a 7.5% norm across the S&P 500.

Electronics pioneer Apple dominated the charts, as the iPhone led the table, the iPod claimed third, iTunes occupied 13th and the organisation's corporate brand filled 19th position.

Rolls-Royce, the auto marque, took second and confectionary giant Cadbury took fourth.

This represents a strong showing by the confectionary firm, as its acquisition by Kraft last year proved controversial among consumers.

Sunglasses specialist Ray-Ban, air carrier Emirates, electronics titan Sony and not-for-profit the Red Cross followed in the rankings.

The Fairtrade mark, certifying when products are made to an pre-defined ethical standard, and Aston Martin's cars completed the top ten.

Gaming rivals Nintendo and PlayStation - created by Sony - were among the next ten, joined by premium offerings Prada, Rolex, Tag Heuer and high-end retailer Bang & Olufson.

Entertainment conglomerate Disney and search service Google also fell in the same group, according to Clear.

"The majority of the most desirable brands tend to stand for something very distinct in consumers' minds, whether they desire them or not. They have a fairly specific profile," said Nick Liddell, Clear's director of strategy.

More broadly, the figures suggested three-quarters of shoppers prefer products boasting a discernable "personality".

"We found that the type of person you are and the type of person you want to be is a big influence on the type of brands you desire," Liddell added.

One of the various demographics name-checked in the research was "cool hunters", a tech-savvy audience eager to possess the latest goods, and reserved particular enthusiasm for items like Ferrari cars and Oakley sunglasses.

The views of this cohort are frequently shaped by advertising, and a quarter were over the age of 55 years old.

"Social butterflies", generally women under 35 years old, enjoy interaction and being early-adopters, with a predilection for Moët & Chandon champagne and Cadbury.

"Badge-wearers" revelled in the status afforded by luxury operators such as Jaguar and Tiffany, while "safe players" prioritise the dependability of Rolls-Royce and British Airways.

"Responsible citizens" value consistency and care, looking to not-for-profits and well-known products, and "respect commanders", typically middle-aged males, placing quality before price, preferring Mercedes-Benz and Microsoft.

"Safe players" favour reassurance and stability, as demonstrated by premium retailers Waitrose and John Lewis.

Data sourced from Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff