What are the world’s top 10 culturally relevant brands? It’s a question brand development and marketing insight consultancy, Added Value, asked more that 62 000 respondents in 10 countries during the last quarter of 2012 in its Cultural Traction™ 2013 report.
Leading the list is Google. Also featured are Apple (second), Samsung (third), IKEA (fourth), Microsoft (fifth), Sony (sixth), BMW (seventh), Audi (eighth), Coca-Cola (ninth) and eBay (tenth).
Added Value’s research measures a brand’s cultural vibrancy. Its brand VIBE score is a composite of four factors, statistically culled from dozens of attributes that reflect cultural relevancy:
· Visionary – Leading the way and getting our attention
· Inspiring – Have a point of view and stand for something I want to be a part of
· Bold – Have swagger with substance
· Exciting – Are disruptive and have momentum
Commenting on the research, Added Value South Africa’s Dr Inka Crosswaite said measuring and understanding its cultural relevance is vital for a brand’s success because only culture can tell whether the brand has got it or lost it.
“Brand equity measures brand health today, an important metric for any brand. But Added Value’s VIBE provides a third dimension, a view on the strength of your brand’s momentum for tomorrow.
“Culture is the currency of all our conversations and it is in a constant state of flux. Great brands know this and invest in marketing to stay ahead of the conversation.
“At the very heart of Added Value’s Top 10 brands is a belief in the freedom and opportunity to drive the human race forward. These are brands that inspire us to dream. They promote the art of clarity and simplicity. They use creativity to look at things different. And just because they’re big, doesn’t mean they can’t get down with the street. How many brands can do this with self-confidence and panache? Fewer than you’d imagine.”
Crosswaite’s opinion is echoed by two brand custodians of Global Top 10 brands.
“At Audi, we are aware of the importance of continuously shaping our brand, making sure that it is culturally relevant to a high degree – not just in Germany or Europe, but across the world including major markets like China and the US,” says head of brand and customer management, Audi AG, Orazio Costadura. “The results of the Added Value study offer a refreshing, new perspective on how to look at brands, and give us very encouraging evidence that the direction we have chosen for Audi is working.”
Executive Vice President, Global Sales and Marketing, Royal Caribbean International, Lisa Bauer, agreed. “VIBE is transforming the way we think about our brand and allows us to look at it through a new lens and understand our position in the overall landscape of brands. The marketplace is cluttered and consumers have more choices than ever. Cultural Traction provides us with the insight to increase our cultural relevancy and lead the conversation with consumers in a meaningful way.”
Importantly, the changes in a brand’s VIBE scores over time provide an indication of whether it is gaining or losing ground, and illuminates the cultural shifts and trends propelling them. This is Cultural Traction.
Worryingly for Google and Apple, their VIBE scores have slipped by 8% and 10% respectively in the US compared to last year, even though they still hold on to the top slots. Is Apple losing its shine as smartphone rival Samsung swoops in?
Facebook suffered the biggest fall in VIBE score out of all the brands surveyed – down 20% – partly as a result of its troubled flotation and outcry over privacy concerns.
In addition to the Global Top 10, the research also highlights a number of interesting brand stories including:
· BMW and Audi: revving up for success in the race to be the ‘fourth screen & green’.
· Alcohol: Booze is snoozing and losing? Is it a coincidence that alcohol brands are declining as technology brands rise to the top?
· Luxury wars: Is Chanel out-styling Louis Vuitton?
· Dove soars clear of rival Nivea. The only packaged goods brand to receive outstanding scores for ‘Inspiring’ worldwide.
· Walmart. What’s gone wrong in the States? As Target hits the bullseye, what are the brand remedies for Walmart?
The full results of Cultural Traction™ 2013 can be viewed here. The online study was executed on behalf of Added Value by Lightspeed Research.