By Alexandra Mukhanova, associate director and creative lead, Kantar.
At Kantar, we know that meaningfully different brands are charged to grow. But growth requires that meaningful difference be clearly communicated and appreciated by consumers.
When a strong proposition is paired with powerful advertising to amplify that proposition, there is a multiplier effect at work. Our Kantar BrandZ global analysis of close to 100 strong brands over a 10-year period data shows this clearly.
Brands that exemplified the best of both worlds – using highly appealing advertising to promote strong meaningful difference – enjoyed brand value uplift of 232 per cent – more than double the effect seen by brands with either great ads or strong meaningful difference.
It is worth noting that while brands featuring in the BrandZ Global Top 100 each year are high performers on meaningful difference, they are also super-salient. That is, they jump readily to mind when a consumer thinks of their category. They score an average of 129 for salience, on an index where the average of all brands is 100.
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Have the right strategy
Successful brands create a meaningful difference; they have a strong presence in the market and add real value to people’s lives.
When developing their strategy, brands should first ask: why do we exist? What inspires us and drives us to do business? This defines the brand’s purpose and helps it establish how a functional benefit of its product and the emotional strength of its brand can meet a real consumer need and make their lives better. Consumers increasingly expect the brands they buy to behave in a responsible, ethical way, and to do what they do well. This should be part of the strategy.
Almarai has been successfully building its brand around a mission to provide quality and nutritious food and beverages that enrich consumers’ lives every day. Having provided customers with great experiences, repeated over time, Almarai has become trusted to provide good quality and has grown to be one of the strongest FMCG brands in the region.
However, brands with a strong meaningful difference do not grow overnight. Building a brand takes time, media support and consistency of communication.
Deliver it consistently
We see many brands changing their communication strategy every time a new campaign is launched, usually in an attempt to seem “fresh”. In doing this, they rob themselves of the opportunity to capitalise on past efforts and often create confusion in the minds of consumers about what the brand stands for.
Brands need to focus on delivering meaningful difference and amplifying it through their communication over time.
For example, Emirates has become one of the region’s leading brands through consistent investment in creating an outstanding customer experience, from check-in to the flight itself. The long-term focus of Emirates’ communication has for years been around celebrating this point of meaningful difference. It also uses its distinctive brand assets and creative style to build strong brand associations. Both elements are strong levers for build branding in advertising, and the strength of branding has been found to be the single best predictor of advertising effectiveness.
These elements won’t supercharge your advertising from the first execution. They work through consistent use over time.
Deliver across touchpoints
It is important for brands not only to communicate their strategy but to live it and deliver against their brand promise. Consistent delivery across all touchpoints is vital to maximising a brand’s potential. Whether a consumer is watching a brand advert, taking in an in-store experience, or opening a pack of your product – they should feel and believe the brand’s promise throughout.
Emirates lives by its brand promise of providing a “better flying experience”, from an easy check-in experience to an extensive choice of in-flight entertainment, cabin crew speaking a variety of languages for passengers’ convenience, a varied menu, and toys to delight kids as soon as they board. This consistency of experience goes beyond these travel moments to overall customer care, the online booking process, and the brand’s social media presence.
Brand building is a live, ongoing process in which different streams should be strongly and carefully aligned with each other and the brand’s core strategy. Consistent, clear and cohesive brand communication that amplifies meaningful difference helps brands become irresistible, grow over time and become leaders.
Kantar BrandZ 2020 Most Valuable Emirati and Saudi Brands report. Click here to find out more.