LONDON: Apple and Cadbury are the UK's top two storytelling brands according to new research which highlights supermarkets as a comparative failure in this regard.

For its 2014 Brand Storytelling Report, AESOP, the brand storytelling agency, polled 2,015 UK adults asking them to identify brands against nine key storytelling elements, including whether they had a unique character and clear opinions, told clear stories and produced content respondents wanted to share and talk about.

Tech giant Apple ranked top in five of these, being considered to have a unique personality and to create its own world. As an innovator it was little wonder to find it first in the 'brands you're intrigued to know what they'll do next' category. Perhaps more surprising was its 18th place in the 'memorable' category where, rather ignominiously, it was sandwiched between discount retailer Aldi and flatpack furniture giant IKEA.

"Emotional connections have a long 'half life' – the more heartfelt our attachment to a brand, the longer it takes for our affinities to decay," according to Ed Woodcock, Director of Narrative at Aesop.

"Both Apple and Cadbury's have been disciplined over the years about staying true to their respective stories and their recent activity has helped top up the considerable equity these brands already have with consumers," he added.

The regular price wars that erupt between supermarkets may be one reason this category has apparently found it more difficult to maintain a constant narrative. M&S, Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury all slipped down the rankings, with Aldi the only one to move upwards, gaining 17 places to reach 20th.

FMCG brands featured most in the top ten – in addition to confectionery maker Cadbury, Walker's came in 5th and Coca-Cola 6th. The remaining top ten brands were McDonald's (3rd), IKEA (4th), Virgin Media (7th), YouTube (8th), Macmillan (9th) and the British Red Cross (10th).

The last two of these are charities and overall these were found to be best at storytelling, followed by retailers and then FMCG brands. Utilities were the worst.

Charities also led the way on having a clear opinion. "Brands on the whole are often scared of setting an agenda," noted Woodcock. "That doesn't necessarily mean having a campaigning attitude or a strident tone of voice, but rather being courageously clear about what you stand for."

As well as standing for something, he suggested taking a stand against something – "even if by implication". Narratives need baddies as well as goodies, he observed "and it's this contrast that brands often fail to spell out".

Data sourced from Aesop; additional content by Warc staff