THE PATH TO BRAND VITALITY
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 functions that a product or service delivers. Having a strong sense of purpose has long been a part of Japanese corporate culture, but has evolved in recent years as issues like climate change and gender equity have come to the fore.
The average brand purpose score across all companies is 100. The average Brand Purpose score of the top 30 brands in the BrandZ™ Japan ranking is 124, which is well in the “healthy” zone and represents the greatest Top 30 average of any country ranked by BrandZ™.
In Japan, ranked brands with high scores for Purpose are worth 52 percent more than brands with low scores for Purpose.
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 by consumers. When this trial goes well, brands can build a strong long-term relationship with buyers.
Innovation creates a predisposition for sales. Innovation can mean developing a product that does something different, providing an entirely new service, or delving into a new category. It can even mean creating a new brand.
Innovation doesn’t only have to involve disruption, however (although of course it can include this). Innovation can also mean increasing flexibility and nimbleness – by finding new ways to deliver existing products in convenient formats, or for radically better prices. Boosting a brand’s Innovation halo can also mean investing more in advertising to communicate what is already unique and innovative about an existing brand.
The average Innovation score of 108 for brands in the Japan Top 30 falls toward the middle of the BrandZ global cohort. This suggest that there is room for Japanese brands to get even better at Innovation. The rewards are clear: ranked Japanese brands with high Innovation scores are worth 70 percent more than brands with low Innovation scores. That makes Innovation the standout driver of brand value in Japan.
Strong Communication has two key elements to it, and neither one alone will be fully effective. At the 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.
The average Communication score of 117 for brands in the Japan Top 30 is the second highest in the BrandZ™ global cohort, falling only behind the U.S. average on this measure. Ranked Japanese brands with high Communication scores are worth 56 percent more than brands with low Communication scores
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.
The average Brand Experience score of 113 for brands in the Japan Top 30 is tied for third-highest in the BrandZ™ global cohort. Ranked Japanese brands with high Brand Experience scores are worth 57 percent more than brands with low Brand Experience scores.
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 people feel for 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.
The average Love score of 114 for brands in the Japan Top 30 ranks as second-highest in the BrandZ™ global cohort. Puzzlingly, however, Japanese brands with high Love scores are worth 5 percent less than brands with low Love scores – a phenomenon that will be discussed later in this report.