The annual Consumer Superbrands survey aims to identify the UK’s strongest business-to-consumer brands from a wide variety of sectors and industries. The process is subjective and takes into account the views of a relevant council of experts together with those of consumers and potential consumers of those brands. The research is commissioned by Superbrands (UK) Ltd and for the past seven years, has been independently managed by The Centre for Brand Analysis.
The British public have spoken. They have voted on over 900 brands, cut down from just under 1,700 by our independent council of marketing experts. The resulting table has the usual mix of winners and losers, together with those treading water. For the first time in six years, however, last year’s winner retained the top spot. The top 10, though, has seen more change than in recent years, with 60 per cent of the brands absent from last year’s equivalent.
New to the top 10 for 2013 are two traditional brands, whose heritage and deep connection with the British public has helped them bounce back into the top group. They are joined by two tech giants that have returned to the top 10 from what was a poor performance last year. Finally, and arguably controversially, a new entry has jumped straight into the top 10, having been featured in the Superbrands survey for the first time.
CONSUMERS BASE THEIR VOTING ON A BRAND’S QUALITY, RELIABILITY AND DISTINCTION
Continuing to head the table is Swiss luxury watchmaker Rolex. It clearly continues to embody the three factors consumers consider when voting; quality, reliability and distinction. This premium brand continues to receive unmatched support, in a top 10 generally dominated by more accessible brands. An incredible 85 per cent of the public voted the watchmaker a Superbrand.
Second-placed Apple and third-placed Microsoft have both improved on their positions since last year. Microsoft jumped back up the rankings from 45th place, which was its worst performance since the consumer vote was introduced in 2006. The brand had previously topped the entire table in 2006/07, 2007/08 and 2009/10.
Like Microsoft, fourth-placed British Airways has returned to form this year. Having historically featured in our top 10, it ranked a disappointing 33rd last year. Like Microsoft, however, last year proved to be a blip, rather than the start of a downward trend, and the aviation giant has come back with a vengeance to place fourth. No doubt British Airways’ compelling ‘To Fly. To Serve.’ campaign and its high profile support of London 2012 helped it recapture the enthusiasm of the British public.
COCA-COLA REMAINS A FIRM FAVOURITE OF THE BRITISH PUBLIC
This meant that drinks giant Coca-Cola was pushed down to fifth, having placed second in last year’s vote. The brand still captured 74 per cent of the British public’s vote, an impressive feat that enables the brand to keep a long lead over its rivals.
Google remains in the top 10 but falls to sixth from third. Moving in the opposite direction is hotel giant, Hilton, which rises to seventh from 15th.
The provocative new entry to the survey, having flown straight into the top 10 in its first year, is Heathrow Airport which was deemed a Superbrand by a huge 71 per cent of consumers, or an even more impressive 80 per cent of Londoners. Cereal titan Kellogg’s is also in the top 10 for the first time.
Closing the top 10 is German automotive colossus Mercedes-Benz. The auto maker slipped down from fourth last time out, while in 2011 it placed top, meaning it has experienced two years of marginal falls.
CRITICISM OF ITS DIAMOND JUBILEE COVERAGE MAY HAVE RELEGATED THE BBC
Falling from last year’s top 10 to the top 20 are fellow German car marque BMW and media institution, the BBC. The latter failed to feature in the top 10, indeed the top five, for the first time in seven years. 2012 was certainly a mixed year for the public service broadcaster. Although the consumer fieldwork happened before the huge controversy surrounding Jimmy Savile, it did come after the criticism of its Diamond Jubilee coverage. However, over 68 per cent of the public still voted the BBC a Superbrand, which means that it continues to sit well ahead of second-placed media brand Sky, which ranked 34th. BMW dropped from sixth to 11th.
Coming into the top 20 this year, principally from the top 30 in the last survey, are Heinz, Facebook, Lego, Disney, Nescafé and a resurgent BP. Maintaining exactly the same position as last year is 17th placed Marks & Spencer.
Falling from last year’s top 10 and straight out of this year’s top 20 altogether are British icons Jaguar and Royal Doulton, along with America’s Duracell®. Jaguar fell to 27th from ninth, while Duracell® fell to 24th from seventh.
Full results of the 2013 Superbrands survey and free case studies can be found at www.superbrands.uk.com