Hot on the heels of Interbrand's Top 100 Brands rankings, another study conducted slightly closer to home showed similar shifts towards technology brands in Australia, with Google, Microsoft, Apple, Sony, Nokia and eBay all making it on to the top ten list.
According to Brand Asset Consulting's annual 2010 Brand Asset Valuator (BAV), former perennial favourites like Tim Tam, Coca-Cola, Kit Kat and Nike have slipped as consumers become increasingly demanding and fickle. In 2000, 40 percent of consumers were loyal to an individual brand. But today it puts that figure at just nine percent.
“Brands that are seen as betraying consumer’s trust, that don’t deliver on value and customer service, are being punished,” says BAV research director David Evans. “Toyota and BP had a shocking year with their product recalls and the Gulf oil spill, while Australians proved they were not-so-happy little Vegemites with the disaster that was iSnack. And chocolate brands which boomed as the GFC made us all depressed, are being cut from our list of favourite indulgences as we’re feeling a lot more relaxed and comfortable.”
Strange then, that Vegemite is still in the top brands list.
At the wrong end of the trust spectrum, the study shows that Australians aren't too fond of casinos, men’s magazines or flavoured mineral waters, while Easy Off Bam, Fox Sports and Theo’s Liquor were trashed because they were seen as customer unfriendly.
“What’s happened over the past 12 months is that too many brands have become commodities. Most don’t stand for anything; they look and feel the same, which is causing consumers to choose brands based on price or convenience," Evans says. "In turn, this is forcing marketers to discount and bundle in a vicious circle of margin reduction and business decline. Take for instance the insurance market. Most of the main insurers are dancing on a price pinhead, with the exception of Youi, which has an engaging story and service delivery to match.”
Evans says that the flip side to this is 'Who Dares Wins'. And daring brands like Google, Apple, Virgin and Red Bull are reaping the rewards of increasing sales and engagement by being fresh, innovative and providing a great customer experience.
“Increasingly people are making purchases from companies that reflect their values. Even though Australia emerged from the GFC in relatively good shape, consumers are changing their buying behaviour. They are now much more circumspect, more aware of what they are buying and more questioning of the values of the companies from which they buy brands. They are demanding transparency and honesty. Status is no longer the point. Value is what really matters.”
The 2010 BAV Study examined 1000 brands covering 120 different categories. More than 2000 Australian consumers were surveyed online as part BAC’s database of consumer perceptions of brands which is conducted and compiled each year.