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BrandZ Top Risers

BrandZ™ Analysis – Top Risers

This year’s Top Risers encompass 10 of the 12 brands that recorded a year-on-year rise in the 2021 BrandZ™ Japan Top 50 rankings. There is significant overlap between the Rising Brand and Rising Category stories. Many of the Top Risers came from categories that posted overall gains this year – categories like Home Care (Attack), Personal Care (Shiseido and SK-II), Entertainment (Nintendo), and Telecom (au), all of which rose in large part because they could claim these Top Risers among their ranks.

The story is different for Tsuruha Drug and Nitori, which rose year-on-year while the overall retail category declined by 9 percent. Ditto Line and Sony, two Technology brands that defied their category’s overall decline of 8 percent. Line holds the title of this year’s overall Top Riser, which rose by 34 percent year on year at a time when people increasingly turned to digital platforms to connect with friends and family.

Indeed, it’s easy to look at this year’s Top Risers and see ways that they were particularly well-suited to our more socially-distant age. Increased interest in online shopping was a book to Rakuten, this year’s second-fastest Riser, while increased interest in health, home, and cleanliness played right into the hands of Tsuruha Drug, Attack, and Nitori.

That is not to say that these brands’ 2021 success was a foregone conclusion. There are plenty of entertainment, home, and health brands that didn’t rise year on year, or even make Japan’s overall Top 50. This year’s Top Risers were all able to seize the moment because of the years they spent building up trust and brand equity with Japanese consumers.

What else do the 2021 Top Risers have in common? This question is the focus of much of our subsequent analysis. But for starters, what sets the Top Risers apart is their strong brand equity: as a group, these brands average well above the rest of the BrandZ™ Top 50 in their results for Meaningful, Different, And Salient.

Encouragingly, one correlation that does not exist is between size and growth. This year, in Japan as well as globally, existing brand value size was not a driver of ranking results: the 2021 Top Risers included large companies Sony and au, but they also included brands like Tsuruha Drug and Attack, which are respectively ranked 43 and 44 in the BrandZ™ Japan Top 50.

Brand Spotlight: LINE

During the pandemic’s height, LINE became an integral part of daily life as a platform to access and share COVID-19 related news and information.

LINE’s news-story user base, text message volume, stamp usage, and in-app call volume increased significantly during the lockdown.

The Japanese government used LINE as a tool to reach the younger audiences, also using the platform to conduct the health surveys and online health consultation programs.