We all know that consumer technology is relentlessly relevant to our lives. We mark time by the launch of a new iPhone, the introduction of yet another Amazon Prime perk or the latest artist to pre-release on Spotify. But beyond FOMO (fear of missing out) and the “it” factor, why precisely are these devices and experiences so central to our lives? What is it about our relationship with technology that feels so meaningful?

It’s a bond that seems more human all the time: Amazon’s Alexa, which makes its appearance on this year’s Index at No. 78, and Apple’s Siri, which comes in at No. 129, have become friends of the family, integrated into conversations throughout our days.

Becoming More Relevant to Consumers

This year’s Prophet Brand Relevance Index™, which was dominated by Apple, Google, Amazon and Netflix offers insights into what, precisely, consumers love about their favorite tech brands. And it also reveals lessons for non-tech brands looking to increase their relevance.

Specifically, we’ve found the brands can become more important to consumers by learning to:

Facilitate Discovery by Serving the Right Content in the Right Channel

 Pinterest moves up three places to No. 5 and has been gaining relevance with each year. It’s clear to us that its formula of curated discovery is becoming more meaningful to today’s consumers. It shoots to No. 1 when measured by “engages with me in new and creative ways,” and it’s also first in “makes me feel inspired.” We see that same trend intensified in Spotify, which shot up 44 places to No. 7. Features like Discover Weekly make it more appealing than its competitors, leading people to their new favorite music.

Offer Tangible Benefits in Return for Consumer Data

Tech companies rely on data to build more meaningful products, but the real winners are those that use data to create a two-way value exchange. In return for sharing data with Waze, No. 35 on our list, drivers get a huge payoff: It saves them time when they’re behind the wheel. With Fitbit, people are willing to share intimate data about their health, from their heart rate to their target weight, so Fitbit can help them get closer to health goals. In fact, consumers are eager to quantify every aspect of their journey to fitness because it helps them achieve their goals.

Excel at a Unique Area of Focus

While it’s true the best-performing tech brands score highly on all four principles of relevance, the ones that rank highest are doing one thing better than anyone else in the world. Google dominates search. Pinterest wins with image inspiration. No one beats YouTube in video or Spotify in streaming. These brands are so excellent that they become, in effect, “a category of one.” Our Index shows the reverse is true, as well: Tech brands that try to be or do too much, like Yahoo and Twitter, perform terribly, coming in at No. 196 and No. 233, respectively.

Have Clarity of Purpose–and Deliver On It

Brands with a purpose are among the highest performing. Fitbit is ranked No. 2 in “has a purpose I believe in,” just after NPR. Apple comes in No. 7 by this measure, and Android is No. 12.  Microsoft’s purpose is to “empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.” Fitbit’s mission is “to empower and inspire you to live a healthier, more active life.” These kinds of mission/purpose statements resonate with an always-on, high-achieving, hard-working set of Americans.

Final Thoughts

Nearly every top 10 brands in this year’s Prophet Brand Relevance Index™ is a technology brand. Clearly, they are doing something right to be so relentlessly relevant to so many. Other brands would be smart to look to them for cues on how to become more indispensable to people’s lives.

Learn how Prophet experts can help your company increase brand relevance with consumers.

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