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Brand Health


The most valuable brands, not just in Spain but around the world, are those that stand out from the crowd in a way that makes a positive difference to people’s lives. It’s really that simple, and we call it having Meaningful Difference.

Meaningful Difference doesn’t just get a brand recognized or remembered, it adds to the bottom line. Among the Spanish Top 30 Most Valuable Brands this year, the brands that have a high score on the BrandZ Meaningful Difference scale are worth almost eight times as much as those with a low score (an average brand value for the high scorers of US$6.7 billion, compared to $868 million for the low scorers).

So, how can the low scorers become high scorers on Meaningful Difference? Just as there are many contributors to human wellbeing, there are multiple factors that contribute towards a healthy brand. BrandZ analysis has identified five key attributes shared by healthy, strong and valuable brands.

It starts with having a purpose (making people’s lives better).

Repsol, Iberia and Mercadona are among the Spanish brands with an especially strong sense of purpose, and international brands like Netflix and Danone are highly regarded for purpose in Spain.

Brands must be innovative ideally in a way that underlines that purpose, which means they’re seen as leading the way in their sector and shaking things up.

Zara, Mahou and Antena 3 shine when it comes to innovation, and among international brands in Spain, the leaders include iPhone, Samsung and ING Direct.

They must also be creative, with powerful, memorable advertising and communications.

Think here of local brands Mapfre, Iberdrola, Mahou and Casa Tarradellas, as well as Coca-Cola and McDonald’s.

They provide a great brand experience that meets consumers’ needs, and is available when and where consumers need it.

Repsol, Iberia and Movistar are great at providing a memorable brand experience. Spanish consumers also rate iPhone, Netflix and Coca-Cola on this measure.

Over time, consumers develop a strong sense of love towards the brand.

Consumers feel a strong emotional attachment to brands such as Mercadona, Repsol and Iberia, as well as international brands such as Danone, Nestle and Samsung.

When a brand is strong on all five of these attributes (scoring significantly above average), they have healthy “vital signs” and we say they’re healthy brands overall. We combine scores on each of the five elements into a single “Vitality Quotient”, or vQ score.

If a brand is lacking in any one area, they are at risk of damaging their brand health and underperforming in the market. If they fail on all five measures (a score of 99 or less compared to an average score for all brands of 100), they are classed as being “frail”.

Time to shape up

The brands listed above are full of vigor, but among the most valuable Spanish brands more broadly, these are the super-fit exceptions among a generally sluggish bunch. The average vQ score of the Top 30 brands in Spain is 106; in the UK, it’s 108; in Germany 109, France 110, Italy 111 and the United States 113.

When the top Spanish brands’ scores for each of the five elements of vQ are compared to the scores of leading brands in other markets, it becomes clear that there isn’t one single problem area that can be fixed in order to provide a shot in the arm to health in Spain. Brands in the Spanish Top 30 have lower average scores for purpose, innovation, communication, experience and love than other major European markets.

For Spanish brands, this means undergoing a full-body workout, focusing on all of these contributors to brand health in pursuit of a stronger, more valuable brand.

Spotlight on PURPOSE

Repsol is, on the surface, a network of filling stations and Spain’s biggest supplier of auto fuel and lubricants. Yet the brand describes its deeper mission as “Producing and transforming your everyday energy”. It has a detailed sustainability plan, is launching charging points for electric vehicles, and is working with the United Nations Development Program on promoting sustainable development in the nearly 20 countries in which they share a presence.

Spotlight on INNOVATION

Zara has been an innovator in fashion and retailing since day one, and is now seeking to stay ahead of an increasingly crowded fast-fashion market with innovations in stores and its other services. Its new concept store in London, for instance, features smart mirrors, showroom-style displays in just one size, with customers placing orders for their own size by scanning labels with the Zara InWallet app. Zara is also introducing super-fast, robot-powered order collection and “smart checkouts” that identify everything in a basket without needing to scan each item.


For a brand that operates in a complex and often confusing marketplace, Mapfre communicates its offering in a simple way: “People who take care of people”. Its main selling point is the peace of mind that comes with choosing the right product for an individual’s needs – and the pain-free process involved in making a claim. Tennis star Rafa Nadal has been the public face of the brand for many years; helping make brand communications more memorable.

Spotlight on EXPERIENCE

As the country’s flag carrier, Iberia is the airline that Spanish consumers know best, but it’s not just fame that sustains the brand. Iberia describes its offering as “a new concept in flying”. It has been investing in new fuel-efficient Airbus A350s, which feature high-speed Wi-Fi, more headroom, more space for hand luggage and better air conditioning. The flying experience is also distinctly Spanish, with meals and staff uniforms all reflecting the brand’s heritage.

Spotlight on LOVE

Supermarket shopping isn’t usually something people love, but Mercadona has won a place in Spanish consumers’ hearts. In addition to an extensive range and the promise of everyday low prices, it puts the customer at the heart of all of its decision making. This is something many brands say they do, but Mercadona is alone in referring to its customers as “the boss”.