There are some brands that punch well above their financial weight in the BrandZ™ rankings by focusing on making meaningful connections with consumers, being seen as different in their category, and ensuring through their communications that those differences are well understood.
This is an “X Factor” of sorts, and we call it Brand Contribution. Brand Contribution is scored on a scale of one to five, and it is a measure of the strength of a brand in the mind of the consumer. This score is what helps make BrandZ™ a distinct and important ranking; BrandZ™ is the only brand valuation methodology that includes the customer view obtained through in-depth consumer research – conversations with the people who know and buy these brands.
Businesses that focus on brand development can supercharge their performance in the rankings. For example, BP and Sky have very similar brand values and appear fifth and sixth in the Top 50. BP derives most of its value from its financial might, and its Brand Contribution score is quite low. Put simply, it is a much bigger business than Sky, which has a smaller financial footprint but pushes its way up the rankings with its strong Brand Contribution, a score of five.
Brands with high Brand Contribution scores tend to be worth more. In the UK Top 50, the brands with a high Brand Contribution score (of three or above) are worth an average of $4.8 billion, while the average value of those with low Brand Contribution scores is just $4.5 billion. This underlines the importance of investing in a strong brand.
High Brand Contribution scores don’t just come from the categories that might seem inherently more appealing to consumers. Several supermarkets are among the strongest performers for Brand Contribution in the UK, along with the postage and parcel service Royal Mail, and Surf laundry liquid. Category boundaries are not a barrier to building a strong brand.
Walking the talk
Johnnie Walker is just one of thousands of whisky brands, but it has built on its heritage and innovated – to some extent with its products but also in its communications – to ensure that it remains distinctive and desirable as it reaches not just UK consumers but also a growing global audience. The range has expanded in recent years with increasingly high-end varieties, and the “Keep Walking” tagline that served the brand so well has been refreshed. “Joy Will Take You Further” is the brand’s message now. Johnnie Walker is the only alcohol brand to make the UK Top 50, and does so with a Brand Contribution score of five, the highest score possible.