NEW YORK (4 November 2015) – Samsung, the worldwide electronics and appliance powerhouse, took the top ranking in the first-ever Landor Global Agile Brand Study, beating Apple, a company with a reputation for being an innovative leader in technology, which ranked sixth. Rounding out the top five are Dyson, Google, Wikipedia, and Android. Three Alphabet brands made the list: Android (No. 2), Google (No. 4), and YouTube (No. 7). The final three in the top 10 were Microsoft, Ikea, and Disney.
Landor, the global brand strategy and design firm, released the results of the first-ever Global Agile Brand Study, the only report ranking global brands on their agility, the newest indicator of brand strength and financial success. The six traits that help a brand be agile are identified as principled, adaptive, responsible, multichannel, global, and open. The 10 brands selected exemplify agility by consistently demonstrating these six traits in a range of market behaviors, from product development to advertising to customer interaction. Each brand has mastered all six behaviors, but uses them in different measures, depending on their business, market, and target audiences.
The Global Agile Brand Study process is a result of a multiphase approach, starting with analysis from Landor’s proprietary BrandAsset® Valuator (BAV), the world’s largest database of consumer brand perception data, to determine an initial list of brands. High BAV brand strength scores show consistently better financial returns than market average over time, even during periods of financial instability. Landor found that the strongest brands scored high on agility, the balance of two key drivers: leading (being up to date and visionary) and true (being authentic and best in class). Brands that scored high on agility were placed on an initial list of contenders. Qualitative analysis of contenders’ in-market behavior and consumer research with millennials narrowed the list to 10 and determined the six agile behavior traits.
“It’s interesting to note what we call the ‘agility paradox.’ Top-rated brands that are both lucrative and loved need to stand for something, yet not stand still—it’s the battle between having consistent values and driving rapid change,” said Lois Jacobs, chief executive officer at Landor. “In an increasingly saturated market, where new products can become obsolete almost overnight, successful companies need to constantly innovate, faster than ever before, while still holding true to a consistent brand promise.”
The top 10 brands in the Landor Global Agile Brand Study are:
- Samsung. The world’s largest technology company and producer of mobile phones leads the industry with new innovations such as the 3-D TV and curved TVs. Samsung also lives its mission to make the world a better place through technological innovation not only through TVs, computers, and smartphones, but also through applications.
- Android. Whether designing operating systems or entering the wearable tech space, Android remains true to its tagline: Be together. Not the same. The company attracted a diverse group of users by allowing them to customize their Android experience to fit their own personal preferences. It’s the first of three Alphabet brands on the list.
- Wikipedia. Available in more than 291 languages and visited by more than 440 million users a month, the world’s largest and most popular encyclopedia is truly a global brand. It’s open to the extreme, with its users actually creating and monitoring the product.
- Google. This tech company, Alphabet’s second brand to make the list, leads the online search engine field, surpassing its competitors Bing and Yahoo. Google is also making a mark off the Internet with new products such as Google Glass and self-driving cars.
- Dyson. Starting out as one man trying to improve a vacuum cleaner, Dyson is now a global powerhouse with 1,000 engineers worldwide, boasting products synonymous with high quality, sleek modern design. The company also remains dedicated to innovation, pledging to invest one billion pounds to develop 100 new products over the next four years.
- Apple. From the MacBook to the iPhone to the Apple Watch, this company has stayed true to its core principles of simplicity and innovation. It has set the standard in music, telecommunications, and the retail experience. Now it’s encouraging its consumers to embrace their creativity with its Shot on iPhone6 campaign.
- YouTube. Though it’s only been around for 10 years, it is hard to imagine a world where YouTube did not exist. Another brand in the Alphabet family, the online video platform extended beyond its competitors such as Facebook and Twitter and facilitated the creation of social media personalities that function as lifestyle brands. Naturally agile because it consists of user-generated content, the platform is now expanding into hosting content that YouTube originates and creates.
- Microsoft. Because it’s able to adapt to consumer demands, this technology company has remained relevant and continues to lead the field despite product issues. When Windows 8 failed, Microsoft promised that Windows 9 would be an improvement. With negative reactions to Internet Explorer, the company announced it would discontinue the browser and develop a new one to compete with Chrome and Firefox.
- Ikea. Living up to its promise of creating happy everyday lifestyles for its customers, this furniture and home décor giant offers different products and services depending on the region—larger furniture in the United States and cash-on-delivery payment in Russia. It introduced a new kitchen range, Metod, which can be customized to fit any space and has begun to sell solar paneling.
- Disney. The final brand on the top 10 list remains agile through unparalleled creativity, innovative technology, and global expansion, yet still stands for imagination. Through movies like Frozen and its many theme parks, Disney has remained committed to its brand promise of delivering magical family experiences. Now with new technology and apps such as the wearable MagicBand and the MyMagic+ app, consumers can create the ultimate Disney experience.
Landor Global Agile Brand Study methodology
Landor took a multiphase research approach to ranking the most agile brands. To look for the drivers of twenty-first-century brand strength, Landor turned to BrandAsset Valuator (BAV), its proprietary database of consumer brand perceptions. With more than 20 years of data, BAV is the world’s largest and most enduring study of brands. It uses numerous brand metrics and attitudinal questions to analyze brand health on four pillars: differentiation, relevance, knowledge, and esteem. While the combination of differentiation and relevance measures brand strength, the combination of knowledge and esteem measures brand stature.
Next, extensive factor analysis was conducted using the BAV database to uncover collections of attributes, or dimensions, that best predict brand strength. Landor discovered that the strongest brands indexed high in both leading (up to date, visionary) and true (authenticity, best in class) dimensions. Landor defined the combination of these two dimensions as agility. Brands that ranked highest in agility in 2014 were candidates for the global top 10 agile brands list.
Before finalizing the global top 10 agile brands ranking, an analysis of the contenders’ financial results, business decisions, and marketing activities was performed to confirm that they enjoyed strong performance and exhibited agile traits. The 10 brands that best met the three criteria—high BAV agility scores, good financial results, and a pattern of agile characteristics—were placed on the list.
In addition, Landor conducted consumer research on millennials (those born between 1980 and 1995) from the United States, United Kingdom, China, and France. Partnering with InSites Consulting, Landor hosted a three-week online community with 142 participants. Users responded to prompts designed to elicit opinions on brand strength and agility. Traits that were most valued by consumer participants were cross-referenced with the traits shared by the top 10 agile brands. The six that were common to both lists were chosen as the behaviors that define an agile brand.
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