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  • Posted by: Ariën Breunis on Thursday, April 10 2014 10:00 AM | Comments (0)

    Best Dutch Media Brands

    Best Dutch Media Brands: Important lessons from the past five years

    Interbrand recently launched the fifth edition of Best Dutch Media Brands, which has been spotlighted in Tijdschrift voor Marketing, the leading marketing journal in The Netherlands. The Best Dutch Media Brands report reveals which brands are strongest in the marketplace and offers a fresh perspective on the Dutch media sector. In this blog post, I will share key lessons from the report that will benefit marketers and brand leaders around the globe. But first, let’s get a sense of the bigger picture by comparing this year’s top brands with the top brands of five years ago.

    Top Ten—2014 versus 2010










    SBS 6



    Discovery Channel


    RTL 4



    Nederland 1





    Uitzending Gemist










    Donald Duck


    De Telegraaf





    NET 5










    RTL 7



    National Geographic




    While you may not be familiar with all the brands on the list, a closer examination of the changes in the rankings in the past five years is like looking at two different eras. As recently as 2010, television, mass communication, and big brands dominated. Just four years later, the internet, personalized content, and tailor-made brands are driving change and grabbing more mindshare in the Dutch media landscape.

    What can media brands learn from this shift? Here are three key lessons:

    1. Media brands have nothing to lose but their chains
    In recent years, traditional boundaries around media categories have blurred, if not evaporated. Television and radio, for instance, no longer exist in a vacuum and out-dated category laws no longer apply. The media world today is a digital and convergent one. It’s adage: B&C instead of B2C. Brand messages, content, and even products are no longer just “delivered” to people, as it was in the old days. Brands are now co-created, with consumer preferences and behaviors now influencing business strategy, brand strategy, and offerings. The people’s chief demand is clear: access anywhere, anyplace, anytime. Only brands that are responsive and adaptive to these trends now appear on top in the 2014 ranking. The NOS brand, for instance, is perceived as a brand that’s accessible via multiple entry points and is, therefore, close to consumers. Given the rising success of such organizations, other brands should take this as their cue to remove the shackles of their (former) category and embrace the possibilities of a digital, convergent world. Brands that still define themselves today strictly as major television or newspaper brands are likely to struggle in the future. They will become prisoners of their own category.

    2. Digital enables consumers to shape what a brand stands for today
    Another interesting development is the rise of social media brands such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Unlike traditional media brands, these brands don’t provide their own content. Social media brands offer user-generated content. In the digital age, a lack of brand owner created content, however, doesn’t mean a lack of brand influence. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn facilitate consumer connections and conversations, while monitoring what’s going in their social and professional lives. According the Best Dutch Media Brands survey results, consumers indicated that the most important driver for using these brands is to bond with others. The relevance of these brands lies in the fact that they’re tapping into a primary human need. Since social media brands use technology to deliver tailor-made, personalized content, the resulting brand experience flawlessly fits a consumer’s identity. As such, “my Facebook” is distinct from “your Facebook,” a notion that takes personalization—and relevance—to the next level. To thrive in the coming years, nearly all brands—especially media brands, which are communicative by nature—must figure out how to harness the power of digital technology to connect with and better understand consumers.

    3. Wanted: brands that believe what I believe
    A number of the top ten Best Dutch Media Brands convey or have their roots in a clear purpose, cause, or belief. Discovery Channel, for instance, is dedicated to satisfying curiosity and puts that commitment at the heart of everything they do. It’s literally the brand’s raison d'être. It gives focus and direction to all branded activities and helps to ensure consistency in look, feel, and experience—which extends to the hit series the brand produces such as Deadliest Catch, MythBusters, and Shark Week. The Discovery Channel’s products are tangible proof of what the brand stands for and believes. As a result of its clarity around and commitment to its core value, it attracts consumers who want their curiosity ignited and the thrill of discovery delivered. In Start with Why, Simon Sinek’s book about what it truly takes to lead and inspire, the author couldn’t have said it better when he when he wrote, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” In other words, purpose-driven brands don’t interact with a target group, but with like-minded people. Now that’s a strong basis for a relationship!

    As these lessons illustrate, the path forward for media brands is evident: break free from your category, embrace digital, and start with a clear purpose. The key to adaptation—and success—is “change,” as the title of this blog post, borrowed from Benjamin Franklin’s famous words, indicates. What will the media landscape look like in 2015? It will depend on which brands evolve (and how quickly), and which brands fail to keep up with the pace of change.

    Ariën Breunis is an Associate Director in Interbrand’s Amsterdam office

    You can follow him on Twitter at @BreunisA

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  • Posted by: Alexandra Meyer on Monday, November 4 2013 01:48 PM | Comments (0)
    Interbrand Toronto

    Interbrand's Best Global Brands 2013 celebrations continue globally, and as part of the launch events, Interbrand Toronto hosted an event at Shangri-La Restaurant in Toronto. The event was a discussion-focused dinner, gathering senior marketers of some of Canada’s most prominent brands.

    Alfred DuPuy, Managing Director of Interbrand Toronto, ignited the dialogue with an overview of the report and its theme: Leadership - What it means for Canadian Brands. “In such a complex and nuanced atmosphere, it’s apparent to us that leadership has never been more integral to a brand’s success,” he said.

    Best Global Brands 2013“The really cool thing is that we’re seeing this kind of leadership development right here in Canada," DuPuy added. "We’re proving we are able competitors on the global stage.”

    Throughout the evening, the buzz around how Canadian brands lead could be heard through a number of emerging areas of focus – from Customer Brand Engagement to Brand Governance and Corporate Citizenship.

    If the BGB Canada event was any indication, the opportunity for Canadian brands to lead in an ever-changing marketplace is abundant. We are looking forward to seeing how these brands rise to the challenges they face.

    For more information on Interbrand Toronto, please contact Tamara Roberts, Interbrand Toronto.

    Alexandra Meyer is a Senior Associate at Interbrand Toronto.

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  • Posted by: Amy Edel-Vaughn on Tuesday, October 29 2013 07:40 PM | Comments (0)
    Best Russian Brands 2013

    Interbrand Moscow’s Best Russian Brands 2013 has a new #1. Appearing on the Best Russian Brands 2010 report at #30, energy company Gazprom, catapults to the top of the ranking this year.

    Two years ago three of the top 15 brands on the list of Russia’s 40 best brands were from the oil industry. Today eight of the top 15 brands are natural resources businesses, either energy companies primarily focused on oil or petroleum, or mining companies.

    MTS, Mobile TeleSystems, and Beeline, both telecom companies, were in the first two spots in 2010 and 2008 with MTS at #1 in 2010 and Beeline at #2, a reversal from 2008. Gazprom has bumped them down on the new report to MTS at #2 and Beeline at #3. Fellow telecom brands topping the list include MegaFon at #4 and Rostelecom at #14.

    An airline brand enters the report for the first time in the Best Russian Brands report history, with Aeroflot taking the #17 spot. The biggest riser from 2010, Svyaznoy, the handset retailer that expanded into banking in 2010, which came in at #20 drops to #36 this year.

    New entrant Norilsk Nickel, a nickel and palladium mining and smelting company, jumps onto the list at #5. Rusal, the world’s largest aluminum company, and Mettalloinvest Management, a mining and metallurgy brand, both enter the ranking at #11 and #15 respectively. Rounding out the list of energy and natural resources brands leading on the list this year are TNK-BP, which Rosneft acquired this year, coming in at #7, Lukoil at #8, Tatneft at #10 and Rosneft at #13.

    The only three brands in the top 15 of the list that are not telecommunications brands or operating in the natural resources and energy space are Baltika Breweries, makers of popular beer and Russia’s largest FMCG company, at #9, GAZelle, the commercial vehicle manufacturer, at #12 and the Savings bank of the Russian Federation at #6. Also known as Sberbank, the brand is one of the largest in Europe and offers savings, investment and lending services.

    The brand values of these 40 brands are remarkable and demonstrate the strength of this BRIC marketplace. With careful attention to branding and strong leadership, these brands have helped the Russian economy weather the financial crisis. As economist Constantin Gurdgiev has noted on the release of this year’s report, “It is true that Russia has some fantastic brands.”

    Amy Edel-Vaughn is Interbrand's Community Manager.

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  • Posted by: Amy Edel-Vaughn on Wednesday, October 23 2013 01:47 PM | Comments (0)
    Best China Brands 2013

    China Mobile once again tops Interbrand's Best China Brands report, which is an interesting mix of technology and bank brands. In fact 50 percent of the top 20 brands are banks. Baidu, #11 this year, has made headlines this week for trying to bridge the tech and financial services sectors.

    Reuters reports, "Baidu said it would launch its Baidu Finance Center on October 28, offering a product together with China Asset Management Co. aimed at producing an annual yield of 8 percent for depositors." The move is the latest in a trend of Chinese tech companies seeking licenses to build financial services platforms, including Tencent, #4 on Best China Brands 2013.

    Tencent is a top riser, moving from #11 in 2012 to #4 this year and saw an amazing 84 percent increase in brand value. Another tech brand seeing a dramatic increase in brand value is Lenovo, which moves from #15 in 2012 to #13 and had a 64 percent brand value increase.

    Home electronics brand Haier also rose on the report from #30 in 2012 to #28 with a 14 percent increase in brand value. As Leslie Butterfield, Interbrand's Global CSO, noted in his Best Global Brands 2013 article, China's New Brand Leaders, "Despite slow growth in the home appliance industry, Haier’s 2012 performance surpassed the whole market. Its secret? Haier actively promotes a spirit 
of innovation and entrepreneurship among employees."

    Best China Brands

    While the tech sector saw big increases in brand value and banks continue to dominate, insurance brands continued to face challenges. Taking big hits last year with declines in the rankings, this year China Life saw an 18 percent decrease in brand value and drops three spots from last year to become #7 this year. Ping An, which began as an insurance company, but has diversified into financial services and aims to become, according to its website, "a global leading financial services group by leveraging its insurance, banking and investment businesses" held steady, retaining its #6 spot.

    Writing of Ping An's success, Butterfield observes, "Recognizing that consumers are struggling with complex financial products, the Ping An brand promises to make managing finances easier. The company’s ability to clarify its brand promise and speaking to real human needs is the reason Ping An continues to thrive, even when the rest of the insurance industry is struggling."

    Two brands returning to the report this year are 999 and Shineway. Damage from product safety scandals saw pharmaceutical brand 999 and food group Shineway depart the list in 2012, but 999 comes back in at #40 and Shineway at #45.

    The landscape for China's brands is rapidly evolving in the post-digital globally connected world. China Mobile continues to reign on Best China Brands, but this week the brand posted disappointing quarterly results, leading to a slip in its shares. Adapting, innovating and brand-building will be key to succeeding. In the case of China Mobile, as Rick Munarriz wrote in China Mobile Could Really Use the iPhone yesterday for The Motley Fool, "China Mobile remains the lone holdout among the country's three largest wireless carriers in not offering Apple's iPhone." He adds, "...whether or not that ultimately begins on Nov. 11 as reported -- will be a win-win at a time when China Mobile needs the growth and Apple would love the validation."

    As Leslie Butterfield advised, "From embracing brand-building and imbuing brands with a human touch to advancing sustainable business, Chinese companies that harness the power of their brands will survive the tests of adversity and increasingly make their mark on the world as the 21st century unfolds.

    Amy Edel-Vaughn is Interbrand's Community Manager.

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  • Posted by: Michael Mitchell on Tuesday, October 8 2013 06:27 PM | Comments (0)

    What happens when a brand goes from being extraordinary to just being great? Both Apple and Tiger Woods landed at enviable #1 spots in their respective industries in the last couple of weeks. But their victories, both surprising and inevitable, highlight the benefits and burdens of brand expectations.

    Apple just ended Coca-Cola’s 13-year reign as the world’s most valuable brand in Interbrand’s Best Global Brands 2013. With 72 million Macs in use, Apple retail stores (according to RetailSails research) performing 17x better than any other physical retail store, and the iPhone 5s and 5c topping 9 million sold in their opening weekend—the numbers are all there.

    But brand is the point where business meets emotion. Numbers aside—when was the last time Apple really wowed us? Over the past decade, Apple gained our loyalty by exceeding extraordinary expectations. Their run couldn’t last forever, but going from bold, world-changing innovations to simply steady, incremental advancements feels quite underwhelming. We’ll see how long our loyalty lasts as our expectations for Apple come back to earth, and expectations for Samsung and Google continue to rise (though, neither Glass nor Galaxy Gear have quite hit the mark).

    It’s been five years since Tiger Woods won a major golf tournament and met both his and our extraordinary expectations. Since then, like Apple, he’s made slow, steady progress. Quiet victories at less prestigious events have helped him reclaim the position of world’s #1 golfer and earned him the 2013 PGA Player of the Year award. But again, we’re underwhelmed.

    Nike attempted to reignite the Tiger Woods brand this year with an ad famously touting that “Winning takes care of everything.” It fell flat not only because it felt crude considering his personal troubles, but also because his professional brand was never simply about winning. It was about winning on the biggest stages and eclipsing history. As he continues to fall short of that promise, we’ll see how much longer we continue to tune in.

    Because a brand is a promise, and when you promise and deliver extraordinary things—as Apple and Tiger Woods have in the past—what happens when you no longer live up to those expectations? Apple’s #1 BGB ranking and Nike’s failed Tiger ad begin to answer that question in different ways. We’ll see, as time goes on, whether just being great is enough for either brand.

    Michael Mitchell is a Senior Consultant, Verbal Identity, Interbrand Singapore.

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