Many tend to associate “world domination” with Apple. It’s certainly changed much of what we do, and does so with products that could easily fit in your pocket. But while recent research hailed it a king of global success, it also made clear it was but one of six brands to have won us over completely.
Global strategy consultancy Prophet dedicated its research to unveiling which brands have us undeniably hooked – and wanting to know more about its findings, we spoke with Ian Kirk, a partner at Prophet.
The six brands that stood out – adidas, Apple, Microsoft, Nike, Samsung and Visa – he explained, offered a few lessons SMEs should take into account. Here’s how the conversations with Kirk went:
1) What was the criteria used to identify these six world-dominating brands?
For our Prophet Brand Relevance Index, we surveyed 45,000 customers in the US, China, Germany and the UK about more than 80 brands across 25 industries. We asked consumers to rate brands on four attributes that we’ve determined make up brand relevance: customer obsession, pragmatism, innovation and inspiration.
We believe brand relevance is the single biggest determining factor for a brand’s long-term success, and those that score higher on our metrics of relevance grow faster, and more profitably, than competitors. These six brands are the only ones that made it in the Top 50 brands in all four countries surveyed.
2) So did the companies make the top six by a landslide?
Here’s the ranking for each brand in each country. In general, the results in China were somewhat different from Germany, the UK and US. In western markets, Apple did spectacularly well. You could call that a landslide. Nike and Samsung also put in good all-round performances. Visa, although it wasn’t as strong in the west, excelled in being indispensable, dependable and available.
3) In your opinion, how have these six brands achieved such global success?
The top brands, dubbed the “super six”, are not satisfied with simply delivering a better product or service today, but work to anticipate and deliver on consumers’ future needs. Innovation is key – and at some point, each of these companies proposed a new and better way to live: Visa’s quest to make commerce frictionless, Nike’s desire to find the athlete in everyone and Apple’s streamlined payment process, for example.
Yet, all six brands are ruthlessly pragmatic. The six’s business models and customer experiences are designed to make it easy for consumers to include the brand in their lives. And lastly, the brands inspire customers by building emotional bonds and fulfilling a larger purpose.
4) Delving deeper, we’re keen to know how each has fostered customer obsession.
Three things stand out in relation to customer obsession. First and foremost, being able to meet an important need in customers’ lives, and doing it so well that customers naturally turn to the brand without even considering others. Apple stands out in this way, with people waiting to buy a new phone until the next iPhone is released, without considering an alternative brand.
Secondly, all six brands have built a strong emotional connection with consumers. People will thus buy products because these brands foster an ongoing relationship, built on day-to-day experiences, that deliver rewarding moments of surprise and delight.
Thirdly, these brands have invested in digital delivery. That means providing products and services in the ways that best suit customers. It also means collecting data that gives insight into how customers behave. The brand can then look for new ways to engage with them.
Read on for the biggest lesson these six brands can offer SMEs