Top Ranked Relevant Brands: Lessons Learned from Pinterest, Waze, BAND-AID and Disney [Marketing]


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We just released our third annual Prophet Brand Relevance Index™, and while some of the results are somewhat predictable–yep, Apple, Google and Amazon still rule the rankings–we see intriguing consumer shifts that have implications for all marketers.

First, technology brands continue to dominate, and all of the top 10 are tech-led. But what propels them to the top isn’t so much digital prowess as the ability to give people experiences that are immersive and enjoyable. Consumers live, work and play in a connected, digital world, so the brands that deliver useful, accessible and enjoyable digital experiences are going to be the most relevant to their lives.
Prophet
Top 10 brands in the 2017 Prophet Brand Relevance Index
But how they do so is critical. Take Pinterest, which ranks No. 5 overall, and No. 1 in its ability to inspire people. Despite its reputation for bridal boards and cupcake fever, it’s relevant no matter how we cut the data–by age or gender or education level. Yet no other social media platform even cracks the top 50. (That’s especially astonishing since most Americans now check Facebook, which comes in at a lowly 103, at least several times a day.) Consumers regard other social media brands, including Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter, as mere utilities or delivery services. Pinterest alone transports them to a world where they can experience more of what makes them happy.

And while consumers interact with apps all day long, only one–Waze, at No. 35–ranks in the top 50.
The growing importance of personalized experiences give companies like Spotify and Netflix a leg up on relevance stalwarts like Crest, Tide and BAND-AID. But all brands can become more relevant by innovating new, customizable products and services, while still maintaining dependability and quality.

Why the fixation on relevance? It’s because we believe that it is the single biggest determining factor for a brand’s long-term success, encompassing high demand, strong appeal, and products and services that add value to a customer’s life. (Here’s how we know we’re on to something big: Revenue growth of the most relevant brands in our Index have outperformed the S&P 500 average by more than 35% over the last decade.)To measure relevance, we asked 13,500 American consumers to rank 275 brands on a series of attributes that fall under four key principles of relevance: Customer obsession, ruthless pragmatism, pervasive innovation, and distinctive inspiration.

Besides revealing categories that are shifting–beauty is struggling, with both L’OrĂ©al and Sephora plunging in the Index compared to last year, and sharing economy brands are soaring, with Uber and Airbnb among the Index’s highest risers–this year’s results also underscore fundamental truths about what today’s consumers expect from brand interactions. And it turns out we’re more alike than different.
  • Red state? Blue? Who cares? Politics may divide Americans on many levels, but when looking at the top 10 most relevant brands for red states versus blue states, seven out of 10 are the same. Only two brands–PlayStation and NPR–performed better in blue states versus red.
  • Millennials–they’re just like us! Nine out of 10 brands are the same in the overall sample and millennial’s top 10 list. Although Netflix surprassed Apple, ranking as the most relevant brand to millennials.
  • Men and women see brands differently For women, the most relevant brand is Google, while for men, it’s Apple. Women tend to see NPR, Fitbit and Keurig as more relevant. And men seem to prefer Pandora to Spotify, but for women, it’s the reverse.
  • Hedonism helps us One in five of the top brands is an entertainment company, including Netflix, Pixar, Disney, Blizzard, Xbox, Nintendo, EA, HBO, YouTube and Sony. As a society, we’re placing more value on being entertained, a key insight for brands in any category. And our desire to play is powerful. There are more gaming platforms in the top 50 than financial services, airlines, restaurants and auto brands combined.
Want to read more? We also rank brands in the UK, Germany and China.

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