What does brand mean to you? While many elements (like logos, products and service) are vital pillars, no single component is more indicative of a brand’s potential for long-term success than its relevance in consumer lives.
Relentless relevance, as explained by Prophet, is when a brand earns customer loyalty at every touchpoint throughout the customer journey. It’s the holistic brand experience that determines whether or not your brand is one of those a consumer just can’t live without.
For brands to exist in the future, they must compete for relevance among their target consumers. Because of this, every executive, strategist and decision-maker should prioritize getting to know their consumers and crafting brand experiences that will inspire and engage them.
How does a brand become relentlessly relevant?
The four principles of brand relevance all require consumer focus, market trend awareness and ability to act quickly on insights. Brands who are relentlessly relevant are:
- Customer obsessed– Committed to meeting the important needs in peoples’ lives.
- Ruthlessly pragmatic– Making consumers’ lives easier by always being available where and when people need it.
- Pervasively innovative– Continuously looking for new and creative ways to engage with consumers and address unmet needs.
- Distinctively inspired– Forging emotional connections with consumers, earning their trust and often existing to fulfill a larger purpose.
To understand which brands are doing this well, Prophet went straight to the source. In a survey of nearly 10,000 customers, 400 brands across 27 industries were ranked to develop the first customer-based Brand Relevance Index. The inaugural report lists the top 50 brands in the U.S., and includes insightful findings on why people love/don’t love companies on the list.
The Top 50 Relevant Brands
According to Prophet’s Brand Relevance Index (BRI), these are the top 50 relentlessly relevant brands who excel in all four principles.
Apple ranked highest across every principle of brand relevance. While Samsung and Microsoft scored high for customer obsession and an ability to act on evolving consumer desires, Samsung had the edge when it came to innovation.
Other brands in the top 10 were buoyed by their mastery of one of the principles. For example, consumers credited Amazon with being ruthlessly pragmatic — always being there when and where they need it. And, LEGO was recognized as distinctively inspired because of its ability to build strong emotional connections with consumers.
Most Surprising Findings in the Brand Relevance Index
Customers are incredibly thoughtful about what they do and do not love when it comes to brand relevance and engagement. Some of the surprising findings discovered in this study include:
- Technology companies like Google, Snapchat and Facebook aren’t ranked in the top 50 because they performed poorly on one of the major factors of brand relevance — Trust! Concerns about data privacy and security have given rise to consumer unease with the practices of some technology companies. Trust is a currency and it is priceless in the development of brand relevance and long-term engagement.
- Folgers (#25) outperformed Starbucks (#42). Folgers scored high in dependability, trust and as “a brand I can’t imagine living without.” It has a loyal following, especially among non-urban consumers who don’t have access or the disposable income for regular trips to Starbucks.
- Traditional brands like Betty Crocker, Band-Aid and Clorox ranked in the top 25, beating out trendier brands like Dove, Under Armour and YouTube. Consumers see Band-Aid and Clorox as very pragmatic and trustworthy — both qualities that are essential to relevance. Although brands like Dove and Under Armour score high for innovation, they have not earned the levels of equity that these other venerable brands enjoy.
The pursuit of relevance isn’t done blindly. It’s intentional. The strongest brands are those that are relentlessly relevant and are making a difference in consumers’ lives. Brand relevance comes to life in every facet of customer engagement, with the sum of its parts about how people feel in each and every moment of truth, throughout the customer journey and lifecycle.