American consumers are embracing brands that provide a 'one stop shop' experience, and web-based brands are consistently coming out on top, according to a survey by Landor Associates and Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates.
The 2006 ImagePower Newsmaker Brands Survey examined Americans' perceptions of some of the nation's most high-profile brands that made the news headlines during 2006. Among the analysis of branding winners and losers for 2006, the firms have also made some predictions about the top brands for 2007.
What it takes to win
According to Allen Adamson, managing director of Landor Associates' New York office, "Companies that can provide a clear and consistent brand to consumers, as well as harmonise with social changes, will find themselves in a promising position, as shown by top-ranking brands such as Google, Las Vegas, Target and iPod."
Thirteen brand categories were included in the survey, including personalities, consumer technology, internet, sports, destination cities, luxury brands and retail. Now in its fourth year, the survey is conducted each December among a representative sample of American consumers, aiming to provide insight into not only consumer perceptions of brands but also the underlying social trends.
Key brand trends observed
Key trends observed from the survey included:
- No boundaries: Everyone's equal
The winning brands for 2006 and 2007 (Google, Las Vegas, Yahoo!, Target, eBay) know no boundaries of age, race, or income - and they all provide affordability, personalisation and a one-stop-shop experience for all consumers, serving as great equalisers in their respective categories.
- Keep it simple and steady
A large number the 2006 winning brands were also winners in the 2005 study (such as Google, Las Vegas, and iPod), suggesting that the key to successful branding lies in a simple message, delivered consistently over an extended period of time in order to build loyalty and truly resonate with consumers.
- Celebrities must have substance
Celebrities who made the winners' list (such as George Clooney and Oprah Winfrey) are more substantive and philanthropic in their actions than the ones perceived for the second year in a row to be less appealing and believable.
- Social networks didn't work out
Social networking sites failed to connect with consumers in 2006, as they were all ranked as losers in 2006 - a year where being able to create and distribute user generated content ruled the roost, as exemplified by web sites like Yahoo! and YouTube.
Consumers want it all - personalised
"The rise of the Web 2.0 craze in 2006 has brought a renewed sense of optimism in the Internet and technology, as well as a quest to provide simplified access to non-traditional forms of communication, entertainment and lifestyle," explained Mitchell Markel, senior vice president for Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates. "And this shift has transcended the realm of the internet to destinations like Las Vegas and retail stores such as Target, where there truly is something for everyone. Consumers want to have it all, but at a price tag that's personalised for them."