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Playing to win


Playing to win

How the bold have bucked the trend

This is a tough time to be in business, but there are some incredibly strong – and fast-growing – UK brands that are demonstrating that it’s still possible to thrive.

And here’s some more heartening news: The Top 10 fastest-growing brands of 2019 are from nine different categories, showing that being in a highly competitive category is no barrier to brand value growth. In fact, two of the top performers are from what’s possibly the toughest sector there is right now – retail.

Across the three years that the BrandZ UK ranking has been running, Dyson has been the single fastest-growing brand, adding to its brand value by 56 percent in that time.

What do these brands have in common? They are Meaningfully Different to the others in their category. This means that they offer something that sets them apart from the competition, and that point of difference is something that helps makes people’s lives better, even in a small way.

The 10 fastest-rising brands are also strong communicators and innovators. They let the world know what makes them special and they generate a clear sense of momentum.

Connecting with consumers and their changing needs via highly relevant product innovations and marketing communications is key to forging and retaining relationships in an ever-evolving brand-building environment.

Those brands that do so successfully are best able to foster an advantageous emotional connection that protects and nurtures their business. This is the power of a strong brand.

Case in point


The beer brand BrewDog illustrates the power of brand as protector. BrewDog disrupted the beer category in the UK when it launched over 10 years ago, and then evolved as the craft beer sector took off and rival brands came flooding in. BrewDog opened bars and then a hotel, and created a community around not just the beer, but a very public mission to get drinkers to buy based on taste rather than clever advertising. BrewDog bars will extend beyond 100 sites in summer 2019, including a second Manchester bar, this time featuring a beer school offering classes, and a micro-brewery to produce exclusive one-off creations.

BrewDog is seen as 42 percent more different than the average brand, and 22 percent more meaningful. Thanks to its highly distinctive approach to advertising and other communications, it’s also incredibly well known among consumers.

Category trends

Services and retail brands dominate the UK Top 75, with telecom providers the largest single contributor of value to the ranking. Between them, the eight brands in this category account for nearly $67 billion, with banks not far behind, generating around $42 billion of brand value this year. The two energy brands in the Top 75 (Shell and BP) contribute $34 billion of brand value, and 14retail brands a total of $32 billion.

The Top 75 ranking this year spans 23 business categories, from engine lubricants, airlines and cars to luxury, personal care, food and drink.  

There have been big swings in brand value in 2019, and some sectors have found the going tougher than others. Fast food has been the fastest-growing category in the UK this year, driven largely by a blistering performance from Costa Coffee. Costa has seen its share price rocket as a result of a buy-out by Coca-Cola completed earlier this year for £39 billion.

Home appliances is another fast-growth category, represented in this year’s Top 75 by just one leading brand: Dyson. Price comparison sites (led by growth from Comparethemarket.com), alcohol (thanks largely to growth from BrewDog) and online food delivery are the fastest-growing sectors in 2019.

There are three new entrants to the ranking this year, from three different categories. High Street retailer WHSmith is the highest new joiner in 68th place. James Bond’s car brand of choice, Aston Martin, makes its BrandZ UK debut at 69, and Halifax bank is one place behind.