What characteristics do the fastest-growing brands share?

Sep 20th '19

A new survey of the UK’s most valuable brands identifies the fastest-growing brands in 2019.


What do these winning companies have in common – and how can you emulate their success? We investigate.


The UK’s most valuable brands

The BrandZ™ Top 75 Most Valuable UK Brands research was published last week by research firm Kantar and marketing agency WPP.


It puts Vodafone at the top of the list of the UK’s most valuable brands (worth US$26.5 billion, or £21.5 billion), followed by HSBC and Shell.


However, when celebrating the success of UK brands, the survey sounds a note of caution.


It says that while UK brands ‘remain well known and loved among consumers, the rate of their growth continues to fall behind brands in the BrandZ Global Top 100…as well as those in other European markets’.


The total value of the companies in the BrandZ UK Top 75 has declined 3% over the last year, with growth slower than the global economy, which expanded 3.7% over the last year.  So it’s not all good news for the UK’s leading businesses.


The fastest-growing brands

One particularly interesting element of the research is on the fastest-growing brands in the UK.


The success stories include Deliveroo, Costa Coffee and BrewDog.


Deliveroo, at no. 50 on the list, has increased its value 54% to $1.4bn (£1.1bn) and is described as ‘a great disruptive force’ that also has a strong reputation for social and environmental sustainability.


Costa Coffee’s value has been boosted by its purchase by Coca Cola. This year it’s up +48% and at no.47, valued at $1.5bn or £1.2bn.


BrewDog, up 40% in the last year at no.57, with a value of $1.2bn or £1bn, is praised for the way it ‘innovates in a very purposeful way, and has a unique identity that helps it stand out from the crowd’.


Ocado (+35%; no.34; $2.0bn; £1.6bn), and Innocent (+35%; no.51; $1.3bn; £1.1bn) complete the top five fastest risers.


What can other firms learn from the fastest-growing brands?

Of course, the most interesting and useful thing to take away from any research is always the ‘so what?’ – the ‘what can my firm learn from this?’


What can financial services learn from the fastest-growing UK brands?


Launching the findings, David Roth of WPP said: “Consumers perceive the fastest-growing UK brands as innovative and dynamic, with a sense of momentum and a clear point of difference’.


He talks of the ‘strong emotional connections’ these brands have built with consumers and the ‘great communicative power’ they use to tell their story. Continued success will depend on them working to ‘continue to deliver a fantastic customer experience, one of the key drivers of success for disruptive brands’.


How can you put this into practice?

Every firm can implement some key actions that will help them to emulate this success – even if you’re bound by the conventions and regulatory restrictions of financial services.


Reporting on the research, Marketing Week says that the fact that companies from a variety of categories are experiencing strong growth shows ‘that it is possible to drive brand value in any sector with the right strategy’.


So, what can you do to mirror their success?

  • Communicate decisively, with a clear brand voice.


Marketing Week notes that ‘Brands that are strong communicators and innovators… are growing their value faster than other UK brands’. The fastest risers score 116 on their communications, while the remaining brands score 107.


Martin Guerriera, global research director at BrandZ, quoted in the Marketing Week article, says that ‘It sounds obvious, but the strength of the communication of these 10 brands is much better than the strength of communication of the other 65 brands. You need to…actually invest in communicating with consumers, otherwise you will gradually lose relevance’.


BrewDog and Deliveroo’s investment in large-scale above-the line campaigns in 2019 is noted. With brand marketing growing more important in B2B, if you plan to follow their lead into advertising, remember to comply with the ACA and CAP’s rules.


  • Brand consistency is important when telling your story. Find out whether having a brand guardian could help to protect your marketing assets, and read these tips for creating brand consistency to ensure you don’t fall into some common brand compliance traps.


The benefits of using storytelling to create compelling content are well known. Work out what your brand stands for and produce communications that fit with your purpose.


  • Embrace innovation. The fastest growing brands ‘over-index on “meaningful difference” compared with the other 65 in the ranking’.


The Marketing Week article notes that ‘Deliveroo’s entire business is focused on innovation’ and that brands’ ability to ‘innovate at speed has also no doubt played a big part in fuelling their growth and elevating their presence on the global stage’.


If you work in regulated financial services, you may think your ability to innovate and disrupt is limited. But increasingly, established financial services brands are realising that there is scope for them to innovate.


With the FCA’s approach to innovation focusing on opportunities for incumbent firms as well as new, agile ones, Marketers are understanding that you don’t have to be a start-up to be a disruptor.


  • Take a focused, analytical approach


Deliveroo’s CMO Ines Ures tells Marketing Week that while innovation fuels the company’s growth, ‘we couple this with an analytical and educated approach to how we can best serve our riders, restaurants and of course customers’.


In a digital marketing world, Marketing teams have a wealth of data available to them. Make use of this to give your marketing activity a laser-like focus. Identify your target audience by using marketing personas to focus your thinking and your communications.


Keep pace in an ever-evolving landscape

This research shows only too clearly that the operating environment for businesses in all sectors changes constantly. The increasing pace of disruption means you never know what challenges your brand will face next.


As BrandZ’s Guerriera says: “Move with the times or die. You’ve got to retain relevance.”


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