Coca-Cola, Vodacom, and Nike were cited as the top three South African brands in the 2006 Markinor/Sunday Times Top Brands Survey, which also found that ABSA, Shoprite, Carling Black Label, British Airways, Medi-Clinic and Nokia heading up the lists of category favourites.
According to the survey, Coca-Cola (at 20.7%) is once again South Africa's favourite brand, followed by Vodacom at 6.0%, Nike at 4.4%, SAB Ltd at 4.3%, Toyota at 3.6%, Castle at 3.3%, Clover at 3.3%, Nokia at 3.2%, Eskom at 3.1% and Shoprite at 2.9%.
Heidi Brauer, marketing director for Markinor, said that this year's Markinor/Sunday Times Top Brands Survey was the largest to date. The Business-to-Consumer categories have been extended from 27 last year to 31 this year and the Business-to-Business categories increased from 10 to 13. Brauer emphasises that the results of both the Business-to-Consumer and Business-to-Business categories are expressed in the survey as Brand Relationship scores.
Brand worth and loyalty
Brauer explained: "The ultimate measure of any brand's worth is its ability to sustain sales from loyal customers. To get to this point, a brand first (the awareness phase) and then has to build favourable attitudes (the attitudinal phase). Finally, positive attitudes should lead to favourable purchase behaviour. For this reason, the Brand Relationship score is based on measuring spontaneous awareness, trust and confidence and loyalty to a brand".
Some downward moves
The moves are not all upward: in the 'International Airlines' category, South African Airways (SAA) came second to British Airways' 24.9%, but slipped from 25.7% in 2004 to 18.2% in 2005 and further down to 11.8% this year. In the Business-to-Business module, SAA's Brand Relationship score must be worrying to management as attempts are made to restore the situation after last year's strike and its problems with service delivery: Bauer says: "On the domestic front, SAA's score was 42.9% in 2004, 36.2% in 2005 and down to 29.5% this year.
Among banks, after being placed third in 2002 and second in 2003, 2004 and 2005, ABSA has, this year for the first time, overtaken Standard Bank to reach the top of the overall bank ranking. Nedbank's turnaround strategy seems to be starting to take effect with its Brand Relationship score strengthening from 7% in 2005 to 11.5% this year.
Interestingly, even though they are no longer in operation, the enduring brand strength of NBS (Natal Building Society) and Perm (Permanent Building Society) continued to place these two building societies among the top ten banks, showing once again how brands endure in the minds of customers!
Coca-Cola still heads the list of the companies that have done the most for 'Community Upliftment', although Vodacom, which was fifth last year, has moved up into second place.
In the Grocery and Convenience Store category, Shoprite came fourth in 2002 and 2003, third in 2004 and second in 2005. This year it has passed Pick 'n Pay to become the top brand in its category. This result could be due to Shoprite's strong rural presence, which contributed to the high awareness nationally.
A selection of the top brands (in descending order) from some of the many categories examined include:
ABSA; Standard Bank; FNB (First National Bank).
- Grocery and convenience stores
Shoprite; Pick 'n Pay; Spar.
- Alcoholic drinks
Carling Black Label; Castle Lager; Hansa.
- International airlines
British Airways; South African Airways; Virgin Atlantic.
Medi-Clinic; Netcare; Discovery 911.
- 'Coolest' brands
Nike; Coca-Cola; Levi's.
- Mobile phone handsets
Nokia; Motorola; Samsung.
Brands missed most
To coincide with Sunday Times' centenary celebrations this year, respondents were asked which brands or products that are no longer available, they miss the most. This resulted in a diverse range of answers (over 500), with the top three being Pepsi, Lion Lager and Mellow Yellow.
Other interesting mentions were: good service at hospitals, good police service, LP records and gramophones, milk delivery to houses, municipal services, VW Kombi, creamy toffee bar, Baywatch and Springbok Radio.
The survey sample consisted of 3,500 adult consumers, aged 16+, and all resident in South Africa. The survey, which went into field in June 2006, encompassed all races and geographical areas, urban as well as rural. Some 2,000 respondents resided in metropolitan areas and 1,500 in non-metropolitan areas. The results were weighted before analysis, to better represent adult South Africans of all races and creeds.