British Airways has held on to its title as the UK’s leading consumer ‘superbrand’ as some of the oldest and most trusted household names including Cadbury, Heinz and Marks & Spencer dropped out of the list of favourite brands.
The flag carrier trumped more than 1,500 companies to stay at the top of the annual ranking of brand strength in the UK, and as names such as John Lewis, Lego and Häagen-Dazs – now mainstays of British daily life – appeared at the top of the elite grouping.
Dyson and Virgin Atlantic are also new entries in the top 20 most popular big brands, a list based on an annual survey of 2,500 UK shoppers carried out by market analysts at the Centre for Brand Analysis, on behalf of Superbrands.
Reflecting the changing world of retail, Britain’s favourite underwear retailer, Marks & Spencer, fell out of the top 20 for the first time since 2009, in a move which analysts saw as a “steady erosion of goodwill”.
To make matters worse for M&S, its rival John Lewis has re-entered the top 20 for the first time since 2012, reaching a respectable sixth position. Controversial online retailer Amazon.co.uk is out of favour and has dropped out of the Top 20.
High street chemist Boots moved up two places from 15th to 13th.
Newer brands – such as social media giants Facebook and Twitter – have continued to be absent from the top group, making few inroads in the overall rankings. Equally, technology giant Google continued its slide, falling from seventh to 18th place. This represents Google’s third consecutive fall and its biggest to date – the brand had previously never placed lower than seventh.
Despite mixed fortunes for the technology giants, Apple climbed back up four places from 14th to 10th, boosted by the success of the latest iPhones. Microsoft climbed up two places from sixth to fourth place, arresting its slide.
Elsewhere, low-cost household names continue to perform well with Andrex, Coca-Cola, Gillette and Kellogg’s retaining their positions in the top 20. Equally, Häagen-Dazs and Fairy were voted into the leading group, replacing Cadbury and Heinz.
Stephen Cheliotis, chief executive of The Centre for Brands Analysis and chairman of the Superbrands Council said: “Younger brands, such as the social media giants, are sitting on the sidelines making little impact as a huge battle takes place among trusted, traditional brands seeking to remain relevant and retain their positions among the brand elite. British Airways retaining number one spot is a great example of a much-loved traditional brand that has also refreshed, refocused on innovation and invested to remain attractive and relevant. It is winning out while newer innovators, such as Google, go in reverse, as the shine comes off.”
In a parallel exercise, British Airways came top of the Business Superbrands ranking, in a move hailed by Cheliotis as “an incredible achievement”. He said: “The theme of this year’s results is very much about leading brands consolidating their brand equity and extending the gap over rivals.”
Consumer Superbrands 2015
1. British Airways
6. John Lewis
20. Virgin Atlantic
This article was written by Rebecca Smithers consumer affairs correspondent, for theguardian.com on Monday 2nd March 2015 17.46 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010