A Decade of Development, a Year of Change
2015 marks ten years since the first BrandZ™ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands study was conducted. In the intervening decade, Millward Brown has researched and valued over 100,000 brands across 50 country markets, to identify the drivers of long-term brand value growth.
With each year and each BrandZ™ Ranking report published, new insights emerge that help equip brands – especially the aspiring newcomers from the fast-growing markets – to learn from the present and build for the future.
GROWING BRANDS IN ALTERED CIRCUMSTANCES
For most of the countries featured in the BrandZ™ Top 50 Most Valuable Latin American Brands 2015, the past year has seen a continuation of the economic challenges that began to emerge in 2013/14. For the past two years, the Latin American region has presented relatively low GDP growth rates of around 2%. China’s slowing economy and turbulence in the global oil industry have been contributory factors, but political unrest and uncertainty have also played their part.
However, even in these testing times, companies that have strong brands remain more valuable than the average of the market. This is illustrated by the fact that the Top 50 LatAm portfolio increased 2% in USD, while almost all economic indices such as GDP, Country risk and Company’s market value showed a substantial decrease.
So, what’s the secret to the strong performance of these brands? There is no single secret, but what is clear from this report is that many of them are applying some or all of the following principles in order to create differentiation and value:
Be close to consumers
Successful brands are not limiting themselves to promoting just their features and benefits but instead are aiming to reflect the same values as their consumers. In looking at life through their customers’ eyes, they are better able to innovate in ways that will really resonate with them. This may translate into the development of new formats, new sales channels and service centers, or new sizes or varieties that can maintain the loyalty ties that the brand has been building over time.
Create a dialogue through digital
The voice of the consumer is now clearly heard and amplified through multiple channels: where once brand communications were one-way, now social media gives each individual the power to praise or reproach. This shift from monologue to dialogue creates new possibilities but also pitfalls. The most successful brands are embracing the transparency that these open channels of communications provide and using it to build stronger, longer-term relationships with their customers.
Creating or supporting shared experiences that unite people and make them feel happy build brand equity and encourage consumers’ loyalty. The success of this approach is clearly demonstrated by the brand in the number one spot of the BrandZ™ Top 50 Most Valuable Latin American Brands 2015, Skol. Investment by Skol has been heavily focused on relationship building through the interests of the brand’s target audience, in particular through sponsorship of music festivals.
Faced with household budget constraints, consumers need good reasons to validate their purchasing decisions. A clearly communicated brand proposition that reflects its understanding of the consumers’ needs, and respect for their freedom to choose, go a long way towards delivering the reassurance these consumers are looking for.