Five ways to build healthy Spanish brands
Just as there are many contributors to human wellbeing, there are multiple factors that go towards making a healthy brand.
We have distilled these factors into five key “vital signs”, that are common to healthy, strong and valuable brands.
These five vital signs are: Purpose, Innovation, Communications, Brand Experience and Love. Brands that score highly on all five aspects are the most successful: they are “healthy” brands. Those that are low on all five aspects are “frail” and the least successful. Brands with a mix of high and low scores are “OK”.
Having healthy vital signs means a brand is meaningfully different, and this can drive growth in brand value.
Brands can look at how they perform on these individual measures when they are seeking clues to improving their overall brand health. When one or more of the vital signs is lacking, general brand health can suffer.
In the Spanish Top 30, brands with higher health scores are far more valuable than brands in only fair or poor health. Healthy brands in the Top 30 have an average brand value 3.5 times that of the frail brands.
This table shows the value of the Top 15 and lower 15 on each score, and their corresponding average brand value.
Getting into shape
There is clearly room for the majority of brands in the Spanish Top 30 to improve their health. Only 13 percent of brands in the Top 30 rank as “healthy”; the vast majority – 77 percent – are only “OK” on the vital signs health chart. The Top 30 brands in the Global Top 100 present as far healthier than those in Spain.
The path to good health
Brand purpose is what a brand sets out to achieve, beyond making money. It is the way a brand makes people’s lives better – not just the practical, literal things that a product or service does for someone. Having a strong sense of purpose is increasingly important as consumers seek brands that don’t simply do a good job at a fair price, but also do something positive for the community or the environment. Brands with purpose make consumers feel good.
Over 12 years, the brands in the Global Top 100 with high scores for purpose have grown in value by 175 percent, while those with the lowest have grown by just 70 percent.
Purpose in action
The insurer Mapfre is driven by a commitment to take care of its customers and the broader community. Mapfre describes itself as “People who take care of people”, and this applies to policyholders in times of need, but also to the Mapfre Foundation, which runs activities in Spain and around the world to improve people’s health and quality of life.
Innovation is not just the preserve of technology brands. Any brand that is seen as doing something new, or setting trends for their category, will get talked about and tried. When trial goes well, that can lead to a longer-term relationship and, ultimately love, which correlates strongly with innovation. Innovation can mean developing a product that does something different, providing an innovative service, or delving into a new category. Innovation creates a predisposition for sales. The brands that have high innovation scores in the Global Top 100 have risen in value by 276 percent in 12 years, compared to just 15 percent growth for the slowest innovators.
Innovation in action
The supermarket and hypermarket chain Mercadona has an innovative approach to the merchandise it sells, stocking major brands as well as private label goods and ranges specially made by third parties just for Mercadona. Innovation extends to store formats, and there is a major push now on to improve the in-store experience for shoppers. The brand is also innovative with fresh takes on its long-running message that the consumer is always “the boss” at Mercadona.
Strong communication has two key elements to it, and neither one alone will be effective. At its most basic level, brands need to be doing sufficient advertising in the right places to be visible and recognizable to the people they’re trying to reach. But being vocal and announcing a brand’s presence is not enough on its own; brands also need something genuinely engaging to shout about. Brands therefore need to do great things, and then tell people they’re doing them. One without the other means wasted resources, but strong communication and share of voice put a brand at a clear advantage. Brands from the Global Top 100 that have high communications scores have surged in brand value 191 percent over 12 years, while those that perform poorly on this measure have only grown by 55 percent.
Communication in action
The department store chain El Corte Inglés has a prominent online and television presence, particularly focused around seasonal events, with its “8 days of gold” and “Fantastic Week” promotions eagerly anticipated by consumers. Its ads often feature unknown Spanish singers who gain overnight prominence through El Corte Inglés. The brand’s Father’s Day 2017 television ad tells an emotional story of a young father who keeps borrowing his elderly dad’s power drill. The young man’s wife buys her husband his own drill for Father’s Day, then it becomes apparent that the borrowing was never about the drill, but about the time spent together as father and son. It ends with the message “Even the perfect gift can be returned”.
A brand not only has to deliver a great experience at every point of interaction, and help consumers at every step, it also has to remind consumers, through effective communications, that it is focused on doing this well. Experience starts long before a person considers buying a product, and lasts well beyond the moment of purchase and even the moment of consumption. It includes every exposure to an ad, every experience on a brand’s web site, and every minute they spend waiting for help at a counter or on the phone. Providing a great brand experience cements the relationship between consumers and brands. Those brands in the Global Top 100 that deliver the strongest experiences have grown in brand value by 188 percent in 12 years. Those brands with low experience scores have only increased their value by 18 percent in that time.
Experience in action
The airline Iberia promises professionalism from its staff, closeness to consumers, and the opportunity to explore the wonder of travel and discover new destinations. The onboard experience underlines that promise; there are many routes across Latin America that promote the language and cultural links the region has with Spain, and the airline has launched on-board innovations such as premium economy and business-plus class sections in the cabin.
Some of the most loved brands in the world are also the most innovative – brands like Nike and Apple, for instance. Love in this context is the emotional affinity of a brand, and it’s something that can’t be bought or manufactured. However, the conditions in which love can flourish can be created. If brands take the time and care to invest in promoting a higher purpose, innovating, and delivering a consistently great experience, then love tends to happen naturally. In the times between innovation, love is often what sustains the consumer relationship with a brand.
Among the most-loved brands in the Global Top 100, brand value has risen an average of 191 percent over 12 years, while those with poor love scores are up just 32 percent.
Love in action
Mahou beers are loved by drinkers young and old; the brand has become synonymous with the Spanish way of life and has a particular connection to Madrid. While most people choose a beer for the taste, there is a strong emotional component to choice in this category, and Mahou has won a place in people’s hearts through its association with key moments throughout their lives – something the brand is currently promoting in its 2017 communications. It is this kind of love that sustains a brand in between innovations.