Top 5 learnings for marketers
1. Strong brands fare well
The BrandZ™ historical data shows that strong brands worldwide are better positioned to withstand macroeconomic shocks, and recover more quickly from global downturns. Even in this slightly down year for overall Dutch brand value, the data is clear: strong brand equity continues to drive value growth. Growing brands scored significantly higher on measures of Meaningfulness, Difference, and Salience than flat and declining brands.
2. Meaningfulness is a key first step
Among the major drivers of brand equity, Meaningfulness stands out as especially important in the Netherlands: even more than Difference and Salience, Meaningfulness is key to driving both demand and price premium in The Netherlands. Fortunately, top Dutch brands are by and large a Meaningful bunch: their average Meaningful score actually increased this year, to 124 (versus a global brand average of 100). This figure sits above the global average of 122, and is greater than the average Meaningful score for top brands in all other ranked European countries.
3. Difference drives growth in a tough environment
Given that top Dutch brands generally exhibit above-average Meaningfulness, what other attributes might distinguish top performers from the rest of the pack in this challenging year for brand value growth? In a word, Difference. This year, growing Dutch brands in the Top 30 had a strong average Difference score of 124, compared with average scores for flat and declining Dutch brands that hovered closer to the global mean of 100. High perceptions of Difference can be achieved by nurturing a number of brand attributes – including uniqueness, dynamism, leadership, creativity. What’s clear is that brands need to establish their edge in at least one of these Difference-generating areas to thrive in today’s Netherlands.
4. Innovation is an important differentiator
Analysis of all Dutch categories shows that perceptions of Innovation explain about 50 percent of a brand’s Difference score – and on top of this, Innovation is, of course, an important driver of brand value and health in its own right. Top Dutch brands scored an average of 106 for Innovation, a value that’s unchanged from 2019 and represents a middle-of-the pack performance in the European context. How can this figure be improved? Disruption is one important pathway to Innovation – and certainly garners a lot of headlines. But improving consumers’ perceptions of a brand’s Creativity and Leadership – through better communication about existing brand initiatives, as well as new initiatives – can also help a brand rate as more Innovative.
5. Personality matters
When it comes to driving brand value, perception matters just as much as reality - and one way to unite the two is to cultivate a more vivid brand personality. A brand could be doing everything right to innovate its processes and products – but if that brand’s consumer-facing personality is dull and unengaging, it likely won’t gain widespread recognition for these improvements. In addition to possessing high scores for Innovation and Difference, many of this year’s growing brands also scored well on perceptions of Creativity, Fun, and Playfulness. Personality should not be mistaken for contrived or inauthentic good cheer – rather, it’s about using clear, appealing brand assets to emphasize a brand’s other strengths in consumers’ minds.