Taking leadership and staying connected with the consumer are more important than ever. Dutch Brands with the most momentum and value growth – this year’s Top Risers – are succeeding because of strong emotional ties with consumers. It’s all about showing consumers why they should care: about provide reassurance in difficult times, and giving consumers an easy rationale for choosing your brand. Part of that rationale, of course, will relate to functional benefits like product superiority, “owning” an occasion, or offering a wide ecosystem of benefits. But consumers also want to see a brand stand for something real and distinct.
It’s true that this year, category performance has a high correlation with which types of brands have made the top Risers list. Given the current business climate, in other words – it would be much harder for a Travel or Banking brand to become a Top Riser, compared to a Beverage or Retail brand.
That is not to say, however, that the Dutch Top Risers’ success this year was a foregone conclusion. There are plenty of beverage and delivery brands that didn’t rise year on year - or even make the Netherlands overall Top 30 ranking! This year’s Top Risers were all able to seize the present moment… precisely because of the past years that they’d spent building up trust and brand equity with Dutch consumers.
No brand exemplifies this success better than Douwe Egberts, this year’s Top Riser. The company’s history reaches back to 1753; in 1924, the company became one of the first consumer goods brands to introduce a rewards system. Almost a century later, DE’s is the oldest still active saving system in the Netherlands, and almost 70 percent of all households have saved their Douwe Egberts coffee seals. DE also created one of the most successful ongoing campaigns in Dutch history: “Neighbors’ Day,” which since 2006 has been celebrated as a time for neighbors to get to know each other. The brands’ advertising has consistently depicted people enjoying tasty coffee in a happy home setting; this consistency has helped the company enjoy high scores for brand Trust, Power, and Love.
This is a great brand heritage, to be sure – but Douwe Egberts has not been content to rest on its laurels. In recent years it has successfully targeted Millennial shoppers with forward-looking environmental programs (under its “Common Ground” responsibility plans) and expansions into e-commerce and subscription programs. These efforts paid off during the “stay at home” period. Even as Douwe Egberts’ out-of-home channels declined (for example, its sales to the hospitality industry)… and the brand was forced to re-envision “Neighbors Day” as a socially distanced exercise… the company’s household coffee sales and brand value soared to meet the moment. The result? Between 2020 and 2021, Douwe Egberts’ brand value increased some 59 percent, and its overall ranking in the BrandZ™ Dutch Top 30 rose from 21 to 19.