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Defining Difference

Defining Difference

While top Dutch brands lead Europe in attributes like Meaning and Salience, they fall to the middle of the pack for Difference, with an unexceptional average score of 106 – a value that, in fact, decreased by two points from 2019 to 2020. Brands as varied as Thuisbezorgd.nl, Albert Heijn, Heineken, and ING also saw declining individual Difference scores this year.

Why does all this matter? In addition to its role as a driver for overall brand value, Difference is especially important in the Netherlands for convincing consumers to pay more for a brand’s offerings. Statistical analysis shows that Difference drives some 44 percent of Dutch brands’ Premium scores, comparable to the figure of 47 percent for Meaningful, and well above the importance of Salience.

It’s no surprise, then, that the Netherland’s Top Risers this year scored an average of 19 points higher than flat or declining brands on “Distinctive appearance,” and 17 points higher on “Shaking things up” - both are components of brands’ overall Difference scores.

But what does it mean for a brand to truly stand out as Different? For starters, focus on Innovation. Analysis of all Dutch categories shows that Innovation explains about 50% of a brand’s Difference score (and is especially tied to how Dynamic a brand seems).

It makes sense, then, that just as top Dutch brands’ Difference scores tend to lag behind their Meaningful and Salient scores, so too does the Top 30’s average Innovation score lag behind other aspects of brand health (vQ).