Interbrand’s Best Global Brands report has launched, identifying the 100 most valuable brands and automotive companies are leading the way. Media experts tell Gorkana why car brands are building on their strengths in terms of reputation and why Tesla is growing up fast.
A ‘valuable brand’, according to the global brand agency’s ISO-approved report, is considered in light of three key components; the financial performance of the branded products and services, the role the brand plays in influencing customer choice and the strength the brand has to command a premium price, or secure earnings, for its owner.
Out of the 100 brands, the automotive sector has the largest presence in the list with 15 entries, including new entrant Tesla and Toyota and Mercedes-Benz. Overall, automotive brands make up 14.28% of the report’s total value.
In addition, Nissan (+22%), Mercedes-Benz (+18%), Porsche (+18%), Mini (+18%), Audi (+14%), Ford (+12%), Kia (+12%), BMW (+12%), Land Rover (+11%) and Hyundai (+11%) all feature in the report’s list of 29 ‘top growing brands’ which are brands achieving double digit growth – in brand evaluation – compared to last year’s report.
So, why are automotive brands dominating in this evaluation of brand power and what role does comms have to play in this? Gorkana asks the editorial and comms experts for their views:
Edmund King OBE, AA president:
“It is perhaps not surprising that so many automotive companies are included in the top global brands and the top growing brands. For most people the car will be the second biggest purchase they make in their lives after their house and therefore they are looking for iconic brands and not just functionality. Hence the new starters such as Tesla are now growing fast as brand icons alongside the more established global automotive super stars such as Porsche and Land Rover.”
Joel Newman, director at Accelerate PR:
“With relatively few products automotive brands have always had to work very hard on brand image, as most vehicle purchases are made with the heart and not the head. Because of this brands in this sector spend a great deal of time not only pushing their latest offerings, but connecting these products with the history and heritage of the manufacturer – and the successes and milestones it has already achieved.
“PR helps lets automotive businesses put its products, services and technology in front of the masses. Successful PR does this, but will also help shape initial opinion. In recent years the increase of social advertising has played directly into the hands of manufacturers, who can use use the budgets that may have been allocated for print, on their own PR campaigns.”
Jim Holder, editorial director at Autocar, PistonHead and What Car?:
“A key driver in car purchase is identifying yourself with a brand that matches your ideals – and here car companies stand out because the rewards for success are so huge, so they invest heavily in developing the brand. Their marketing budgets are relatively enormous, and that is always going to give them a head start when it comes to developing a brand.
“It’s perhaps true to say that for most people their car is the biggest thing they will purchase that actively advertises their social positioning – and that provides the car companies with a chance to tap into the – or one of the – strongest emotional purchases of anyone’s life.”
Juliet Cameron, director at Launch PR:
‘They say a dog is not just for Christmas. Well how about a car brand is for life? Car companies are particularly good at connecting with people emotionally, especially at a certain life stage, where people want reflections of themselves. If we’re all honest, we see ourselves in our car. So for most, it’s far from functional – and all about the brand. The image. The real performance between say a £10,000 car and a £20,000 car is often not that great. Image is everything. And the automotive sector is arguably one of the most competitive, so companies need to invest and engage cleverly, big time, to achieve any meaningful cut through to differentiate the brand and cultivate the image.
“PR is fast becoming the most creative of all disciplines, as what we do is all about creative content, across any medium. We have all the tools at our disposal to create meaningful dialogue with target audiences. Perfect for the automotive sector. If you start with the premise of idea is everything, you’re half way there. It’s the approach we’ve adopted for our client Hyundai, matched by rigorous delivery and evaluation.”