SOURCE: Landor

Landor

September 17, 2014 08:00 ET

Is Digital's Momentum Slowing Down? Samsung, Chex, and Puffs Rank Highest in Landor's 2014 Breakaway Brands Study

Amazon and Xbox Live Put on the Watch List

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - September 17, 2014) - In the battle for greatest improvement in brand strength, everyday down-to-earth brands, such as Chex, Puffs, Costco's Kirkland Signature, and Bounty, beat out trendy Internet brands such as Facebook, YouTube, and Google, according to the latest Landor 2014 Breakaway Brands® study. Topping the list is Samsung, a leader in mobile and smartphones, but also known for big-box items such as refrigerators and washers. 

Landor, the global brand strategy and design firm, released the results of its Breakaway Brands study today. The annual study is the only report ranking U.S. brands on their ability to successfully sustain rising brand strength over a three-year period. The 10 brands selected show the greatest gains in relevance and differentiation, coupled with strong business performance, between 2010 and 2013. The study analyzes data from Young & Rubicam Group's proprietary BrandAsset® Valuator (BAV), the world's largest database of consumer brand perception.

"We're seeing a resurgence of consumer appreciation for more tangible experiences," said Mich Bergesen, global director of financial services at Landor, who led the research study. "While tech giants are still very strong, a more down-to-earth crop of brands has built the greatest brand momentum in the past few years. Another common characteristic among our leading brands is being agile, meaning brands that are shaped by an ongoing conversation with consumers and employees, and more focused on relevance than consistency."

The top 10 brands, ordered by greatest increase in brand strength, are:

1. Samsung. The only tech-related brand to make it into the top 10, Samsung provides consumers with an innovative shopping environment, the Samsung Experience Shop. The company has been successful in leveraging its brand across many categories: appliances, TVs, and mobile and smartphones.

2. Chex. Anticipating the gluten-free craze, Chex launched a seven-product extension to capture the new segment, experiencing a 10 percent sales growth. An entirely different set of shoppers is reached with the snack food Chex Mix, whose advertising encourages consumers to "Pick Your Mix" from the line's 21 varieties.

3. Puffs. Puffs took on Kleenex by focusing on the product's functional benefits, especially for women. Emphasizing that the product's softness empowers a woman to put her best face forward, even when she has a cold, connected the brand more meaningfully with customers.

4. Oakley. Moving away from lifestyle products and back to athletic gear clarified Oakley's benefit to consumers, leading to a 50 percent increase in differentiation. In 2010, only 10 percent of consumers considered Oakley innovative, but after its performance-centric campaigns, that number has lifted to 90 percent.

5. MAC. The bold, edgy cosmetics brand saw its relevance skyrocket by creating an environment where consumers can write their own stories. This increase in relevance led to the rise of MAC's overall brand strength.

6. Keurig. Named a Breakaway Brand in 2012, Keurig was moved to the Landor Watch List last year after the expiration of its K-Cup patents. But today, it's back as a Breakaway Brand. Keurig expanded its foothold in the home beverage-making category, and has extended into the cold beverage market through partnerships with Coca-Cola, General Mills, and Lipton.

7. Costco's Kirkland Signature. This product line has been able to position itself as a premium private brand. From champagne to swimsuits, Kirkland Signature reminds consumers that Costco provides quality items to meet every need.

8. Lea & Perrins. Lea & Perrins drives home that it is the "original and genuine" Worcestershire sauce. Consumers have also responded to new options such as the Marinade-in-a-Bag line, delivering sales increases and an impressive gain in differentiation.

9. Bounty. Encouraging families to "bring on the mess," Bounty became a brand that celebrates the little moments that mothers share with their children. Bounty made moms part of the story by asking them to tweet #BringIt, and in return donating $1 to the Team USA Youth Sports Fund for each post. After the campaign, Bounty's differentiation jumped by 41 percent.

10. Under Armour. Its universal tagline, I will, communicates that Under Armour is a brand for everyone. It's gone to extra lengths to attract women, introducing the I Will What I Want campaign, featuring top female athletes kitted out in Under Armour.

"Landor's annual Breakaway Brands study is the only brand study that analyzes brand health over a three-year period," said Bergesen. "We identify those brands that grew significantly on two key measures; specifically, the brand's differentiation and the brand's relevance, or how appropriate it is to a consumer's life. We believe this indicates true brand strength."

Amazon, Xbox Live, and the Super Bowl named to the Breakaway Brands Watch List

In addition to the 10 Breakaway Brands, Landor chose five brands for its 2014 Watch List: Gallo, Super Bowl, Xbox Live, Kleenex, and Amazon.com. The Watch List brands have shown exceptional brand strength in past years, but face some uncertainty in the long term.

Interestingly, Amazon.com has made the Breakaway Brands list since 2010, but this year its failure to reliably produce net income prompted its move to the Watch List. The question is: Will investors tire of its inconsistent profitability? And, although Xbox Live's functionality increased, enabling it to broaden its appeal to a wider audience, there are questions about the brand's ability to create a personality that resonates with consumers.

About Landor's Breakaway Brands study

First published in 2004, Landor's annual Breakaway Brands® study provides a unique look at brands that have exhibited a sustained, quantifiable increase in brand strength over a three-year period.

Brand strength is determined using three years of consumer survey data from the BrandAsset® Valuator (BAV) U.S. database. Landor analyzed data for approximately 3,000 brands across industries, based on interviews with more than 17,000 consumers annually, evaluating against 72 different measures of brand health. By comparing brand performance on key measures that drive consumer preference and choice -- specifically, the brand's differentiation (including its distinctiveness, innovation, and dynamism) -- and the brand's relevance (how appropriate it is to a consumer's life), Landor identifies those brands that increased their scores most dramatically. When a brand grew significantly on both measures (an indication of true brand strength) and these numbers were sustained over the three-year period, they became candidates for the Breakaway Brands list.

Later, Landor partnered with students from Wake Forest University's School of Business to conduct secondary research on key actions undertaken by brand owners to enhance performance and identify the strategies and initiatives employed to sustain brand growth over three years. The selected finalists are therefore not necessarily the biggest brands, but brands that proactively built brand strength most consistently over time.

With more than 20 years of consumer data, BAV is the world's largest and most enduring study of brands. Polling consumers in the United States on a quarterly basis for their perceptions of brands, it identifies and analyzes brand strength and trends based on four pillars of brand building: differentiation, relevance, esteem, and knowledge.

To date, BAV tracks brands in more than 51 countries, covers some 52,500 brands, has conducted interviews with more than 985,000 consumers, and includes dozens of brand metrics and attitudinal questions. BAV is part of Young & Rubicam Group, a partnership of companies that includes Landor.

About Landor

As a global leader in brand consulting and design, Landor helps clients create agile brands that thrive in today's dynamic, disruptive marketplace. Our work enables top brands -- from Barclays to BMW and Tide to Taj -- to stand for something while never standing still.

Landor's branding services include strategy and positioning, identity and design, brand architecture, innovation, naming and verbal branding, research and analytics, environments and experience, engagement and activation, and digital and social media.

Founded by Walter Landor in 1941, Landor pioneered many of the research, design, and consulting methods that are now standard in the branding industry. Today, Landor has 26 offices in 20 countries, working with a broad spectrum of world-famous brands. Clients include Barclays, Bayer, BMW, BP, Diageo, FedEx, GE, Intuit, Kraft Foods, MillerCoors, Procter & Gamble, Samsung, Singapore Airlines, and Taj Group.

Landor is a member of the Young & Rubicam Group network within WPP, the world's largest marketing and communications firm. For more information, please visit Landor.com and follow Landor on Facebook and Twitter.

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