Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Starbucks: No. 152

My ‘Guardian’ was recently enlarged by the inclusion of a substantial insert put out by a company called Superbrands UK - see their website here. Their research for this year has produced a list of the UK’s “strongest” brands, based on the opinions of marketing experts, business professionals and British consumers.

Such league tables measure a number of factors, the most prominent being the visibility of the brands and their perception as trustworthy and/or as indications of quality. These elements presumably equal “strength” -- the word that Superbrands UK uses to indicate a real brand winner. They separately survey “Consumer Brands” (B2C) and “Business Brands” (B2B). The impressive newspaper insert and the website do not dwell too much on how exactly these surveys are conducted, but on delving further we find this (for the Consumer Brands survey):

The annual Consumer Superbrands survey is independently administered by The Centre for Brand Analysis (TCBA). Brands do not apply or pay to be considered; rather, the
selection process is conducted as follows: TCBA researchers compile lists of the UK’s leading business-to-consumer brands, drawing on a wide range of sources, from sector reports to blogs to public nominations. From the thousands of brands initially considered a final shortlist is created. For 2012, just over 1,700 brands were shortlisted...The remaining brands are voted on by the consumers of those brands, accessed via a YouGov panel. For Consumer Superbrands, a nationally representative sample of more than 2,000 British consumers (aged 18 and above) was surveyed. 

And the definition of  a “Superbrand”? -

‘A Superbrand has established the finest reputation in its field. It offers customers significant emotional and/or tangible advantages over its competitors, which customers want and recognise.’ In addition, the voters are asked to judge brands against the following three factors: Quality. Reliability. Distinction. 

I find the ranking process a little nebulous - “distinction”? However, there is no doubt that a brand is the face of a business, and for it to successfully draw and retain customers it needs to be memorable, attractive and a sign of quality. So congratulations to the Superbrands.

And who were the winners? Superbrands UK were pleased to report that “Nearly half of the top 20 Consumer Superbrands hail from Blighty, while 11 of the top 20 Business Superbrands are British business heroes.”

(“Business heroes”?)

The full lists can be found on Superbrands UK’s website, but here’s a taste:

Consumer Superbrands 2012

 Royal Doulton

Business Superbrands 2012

Rolls-Royce Group
British Airways
Virgin Atlantic
London Stock Exchange

In possibly the biggest brand come-back, I was interested to note that British Airways was up 43 places on last year, leaping from 48th to 5th. Will there be some bubbly flowing at BA’s marketing and promotions department? Or do these league tables really mean very little?

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