Ideals key for top brands

04 January 2012

NEW YORK: Amazon, Coca-Cola and Google are among the brand owners that have used clear "ideals" to build customer loyalty and drive revenue growth, a study has argued.

The Jim Stengel Company, the consultancy, has named the 50 brands delivering the best results in these areas, drawing on data from Millward Brown Optimor covering 50,000 assets worldwide over ten years.

It reported that this elite cohort had bettered the performance of the S&P 500, an index of the leading US firms, by 400% during the timeframe under consideration.

Google, the online giant, Apple, the electronics pioneer, Coca-Cola, the soft drinks manufacturer, and Starbucks, the coffee house chain were some of the major players featured.

The luxury category was also well-represented, from fashion and accessories experts like Hermès and Louis Vuitton to alcoholic drinks such as Moët et Chandon and Hennessy, and automakers like Mercedes-Benz.

Looking to the web, Amazon and Rakuten Ichiba, the ecommerce platforms, Vente-Privee, the "private shopping" portal, and Zappos, the footwear group, all made the list.

Jim Stengel, founder of the Jim Stengel Company and formerly chief marketing officer at Procter & Gamble, suggested all of the high-ranking brands were based around an "ideal".

Practical examples of this from the top 50 included IBM, the business services firm, with its goal to "create a smarter planet", and Jack Daniel's, the whiskey, fostering "maverick independence".

More broadly, Stengel defined five areas where brands can potentially carve out such a position: "eliciting joy, enabling connection, inspiring exploration, evoking pride or impacting society."

Among the other members of the top 50 were Innocent, the smoothie brand part-owned by Coca-Cola, as well as Method and Seventh Generation, which supply eco-friendly household goods.

Tsingtao and Snow, the Chinese beers, Natura, the Brazilian cosmetics company, and Petrobras, an energy group also from Brazil, were just some of the brands from fast-growth economies to make the rankings.

They were joined by SedmoyKontinent, the Russian supermarket operator, and Airtel, the Indian telecoms provider, which has rapidly expanded its presence across Asia and Africa.

Despite the diversity of the top 50 brands, Stengel asserted that they shared a tight focus on their core purpose. "Maximum growth and high ideals are not incompatible. They're inseparable," he said.

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by Warc staff