The world's top 62 mega-brands examined

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on April 8, 2003

Today's consumer connects with brand franchises that symbolise trust, offer specific expertise, and group products logically, according to a new study by marketing information firm, ACNielsen. Leaders in global 'mega brands' include Unilever, Procter & Gamble, and Johnson & Johnson.

The study, Global Mega Brand Franchises - Extending Brands Within a Global Marketplace, was based on an evaluation of over 200 brands from more than 50 manufacturers, covering 50 countries, across the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry. It highlights the 62 major brands that met ACNielsen's criteria in identifying global mega brand franchises.

"Expertise, trust, and logically related categories are the three key attributes driving the creation of global mega brand franchises," explained Jane Perrin, managing director for Global Services, the sponsor of the study. "Leveraging some or all of these attributes is a distinct advantage when trying to extend a brand beyond a core product category or home geography."

Brand leaders
Manufacturers in the personal care and cosmetics area were highlighted as being particularly adept at building global mega brand franchises, with more than half of the 62 brands being related to the sector.

Beiersdorf's Nivea, for example, capitalises on its expertise in skin care throughout 19 product categories, ranging from skin moisturisers and tanning lotions to hair cleaning and shaving gel products.

Further examples include Johnson & Johnson, Colgate-Palmolive, and L'Oral, who use their trusted corporate names to extend multiple brands across many product categories worldwide.

About one-third (22) of the brands examined use their corporate name in their brand offerings. Others, like Gillette's Oral B use logical product groupings (such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, dental floss, and mouthwash) to build a global mega brand franchise in the consumer's mind.

Food and drink
In the food, beverage and confectionery arena, the study names 23 global mega brand franchises, with Nestl being found in the greatest number of categories (17 in total).

Nestl also takes advantage of consumers' trust in its corporate name, extending into product categories such as breakfast cereals, baking/cooking aids, chocolate, and water.

To qualify as a global mega brand franchise, a brand must:

  • be available in at least 15 of the 50 countries studied, which represent 95% of the world's gross domestic product (GDP);
  • be marketed with the same name in at least three categories, in three or more geographical regions;
  • be primarily sold in grocery, mass merchandise, or pharmacy outlets.

Single-category brands
"It should be noted that brands can be very successful globally without being a mega brand franchise," added Perrin. "While some marketers argue that brand extension is the logical outcome for any successful brand, some of the best known brands in the world have become so by being singularly focused on a particular category."

Coca-Cola and Marlboro, the top two brands identified in another recent study, are both successfully focused within a single product category. According to Perrin, the marketing debate over success in single or multiple product categories is likely to evolve further over coming years as manufacturers continue to expand their product lines across categories and countries.

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