Time to shine, in the most testing of times
The launch of this year’s BrandZ Top 75 Most Valuable UK Brands ranking comes at a unique moment in history. For reasons we are all too aware of, we now need to think faster, bolder and bigger than ever before.
But it might surprise you to find that this report is not “the COVID edition”.
Of course, we will look closely at the consumer and market changes that are presenting brands with such tremendous challenges right now, and show brands can do in order to better understand consumers and meet their fast-evolving needs.
But what’s absolutely clear from our BrandZ analysis is that the battle UK brands face now is based on many trends that were heading their way anyway, pandemic or not. There’s no doubt that it has happened sooner and more suddenly as a result of the virus, but it was surely coming.
At WPP and Kantar, we have been speaking for some time of the importance to UK brands of keeping pace with the smartest, strongest and most agile brands from all over the world. After all, today’s connected consumers can discover and buy virtually any brand from anywhere.
In this report, we show that there are some amazing, trailblazing and world-leading UK brands that are shining examples of how to build and maintain close connections with consumers, generating not just sales today but the foundations of loyalty that can last a lifetime. But there is more that we must do to keep UK brands strong, especially after we have left the European Union.
So, I make no apologies for shining a light on the agile brands that were prepared to be daring when faced with the greatest challenge in their history. And we celebrate those brands that not only showed they cared when there was a desperate need, but that have been prioritising the dignity and wellbeing of consumers and suppliers for years, if not decades.
In times like this, the strength of brand and its brand purpose really shines through. It also pays dividends, quite literally. Companies with valuable brands are better placed. Their share price falls less far and recovers more quickly than others.
BrandZ analysis consistently shows that strong brands provide resilience during periods of market volatility. That lesson was clear during the global financial crisis over a decade ago, and our very own Global Top 100 Most Valuable Brands ranking, released just a couple of months ago, shows this to be the case once again.
Despite all that has happened so far this year, the value of the Global Top 100 increased by 6 percent. And in a six-week period when the S&P 500 lost 51 percent of its value, the value of our BrandZ Powerful Brands Top 10 fell by only 37 percent before turning upward.
In the pages ahead, we show marketers and brand builders the factors that inspire consumers today to select one brand over another in order to deliver strong shareholder returns.
No one knows how long this pandemic will last and what the recovery arc will look like, though of course we can hope for a V rather than an elongated U. What we do know is that for brands to make gains during the recovery, they need to be planning now.
Corporate reputation, especially environmental and social responsibility, is having a significant impact on brand choice, according to our BrandZ analysis. As consumers rethink what they buy, what they prioritise, how they work and what they want out of life, brands have much to play for.
We can help
To create this report, some of the brightest minds across WPP and Kantar in the UK have shared their knowledge and on-the-ground expertise in Thought Leadership articles to guide brand builders.
We also put this year’s BrandZ data into the context of a world in flux, providing clear, positive and actionable insights that can make a huge difference to brands’ strength today and their ability to withstand future challenges. This is brought to life with real-world examples of UK brands demonstrating the very qualities we champion.
We are gaining more knowledge and insights day by day, in real-time, so I invite you to view this report is a starting point. I urge you to follow up with the experts who contributed to the report. They continue to monitor the impact of the pandemic on brands across categories and around the world. We have an extensive library of annual BrandZ country reports, as well as our Global Top 100 report. Please access them with our compliments at BrandZ.com.
One of our key WPP strengths—and a benefit for our clients—is that when we say we cover the world of brands, that’s exactly what we mean. The WPP and Kantar proprietary BrandZ database includes information from over 3.8 million consumers about their attitudes about (and relationships with) 17,801 brands across 512 categories in 51 markets. All that produces more than 5.3 billion data points.
In addition to offering a deep and timely understanding of the consumer, this information enables us to guide strategic decision-making, and direct the kind of creative innovation in products, services, packaging and communication that can excite consumers and lift a company’s fortunes. Creativity is what we offer. We can help you create the transformative ideas and outcomes necessary for building valuable brands.
To learn more about how to use our passion for brands to help power yours—especially during these uncertain and trying times— please contact any of the WPP companies and Kantar divisions that contributed expertise to this report. Turn to the Resources section at the end of this report for the contact details of key executives. Or feel free to contact me directly.
CEO The Store WPP, EMEA & Asia
Chairman, BrandZ™ and BAV Group