When we launched this blog, one of the objectives was to keep things focused on the positive. So, with the help of other sterling-ites, this week I put some concentrated thought into creating a list of major brands that, in our view, have beaten the recessionâ€¦at least so far!!
And by beating the recession, we mean brands that have not only resonated with consumers in a big way but that also have produced financial results superior to others in their category, year to date. And this damn financial filter made the task that much harder!!
The short list of potential brand candidates was developed from a number of sources including our recent fieldwork trips around the country, our daily reading and on-line chatter and of course our individual experiences and observations as consumers and shoppers over recent months.
Here is the top 10 list of brandsâ€¦in alphabetical order:
The fact that the list was populated by a mix of big, established brands with retail and digital emphasis was no surprise â€“ the more interesting stuff began to emerge when we started looking for the common patterns, the unifying characteristics that connected these 10 top brands.
And we found four common themes:
- All of these brands directly or indirectly have benefited from weakened competition in their sector, be it the legacy airlines for jetBlue or myspace in the case of facebook or Blockbuster in the case of Netflix
- All of these brands have benefited from being culturally connected and culturally relevant, whether it be the Michelle Obama factor for J.Crew or the stay-at-home consumer with more time to use Match.com or the Assurance guarantee for Hyundai buyers
- All of these brands have relentlessly delivered a new level of value to their consumers, whether it be the new, higher quality McCafĂ© product at McDonaldâ€™s or the everyday low prices at Wal-Mart or the $599:00 fly anywhere jetBlue promotion
- All of these brands have managed to deliver continuous product improvement and innovation, whether it be a new Kindle from Amazon or the expanded range of services at Priceline.com
What these four themes illustrate very clearly is that brand success, particularly in tough times, depends on a combination of dynamic leadership, an intimate knowledge of the marketplace and an obsession about making change happen.
And while these brands might well be more than satisfied with their performance, we suspect that the real benefit of their hard work has yet to show. What do we mean? It would be our bet that many of this top 10 list of brands have not only enhanced their reputation but have also made huge progress in building a more relevant and sustainable point of difference for their brand as a result of all their efforts.
Incidentally, there were also a number of other contenders for the winners list including Apple, Cisco, Ford, General Mills, Hasbro, Home Depot, Kraft, Samsung, Trader Joeâ€™s and Zappos and when we repeat this little analysis in early 2010, who knows who will be on the list.
But in the meantime, I would like to simply salute the success of the top tenâ€¦ life ainâ€™t easy these days but these brands have shown us the way and inspired us all in the process.
Simon WilliamsTweet this | Tags: Amazon, brand, competition, difference, Facebook, Hyundai, J Crew, JetBlue, Match.com, McDonald's, Netflix, Priceline, recession, survival, top ten, value, Walmart