A total of 10 brands have been nominated for the Marketing Week Masters’ ‘Brand of the Year’, powered by YouGov.
Eight of the brands have been chosen by the Marketing Week editorial team from the top 20 best performing brands in the past year, according to several key measures tracked by YouGov’s BrandIndex. A further two, an ‘Editor’s Pick’ and a ‘Disruptor’, have been chosen because of standout performances over the past year.
The winner will be selected by our jury of senior marketers from some of the UK’s biggest businesses. This year, our expert panel of judges includes Meghan Farren, CMO of KFC UK & Ireland, easyJet CMO Lis Blair, Ali Jones, customer director at The Co-operative Group, Rachael Pettitt, Uber’s head of marketing for the UK, Northern and Eastern Europe and David Wheldon, CMO at RBS, among many others.
The ‘Brand of the Year’ shortlist will be announced when we reveal the full shortlist for all Master’s categories in June.
There is now just five days until the entry deadline, so if you’re planning to submit an entry for one of the other categories make sure you do before 3 May.
The nominations for ‘Brand of the Year’
At the beginning of 2018 Cadbury replaced its ‘Free the Joy’ strapline with ‘There’s a glass and a half in everyone’.
Dirk Van de Put, CEO of Cadbury’s owner Mondelēz, claims the repositioning “connected really well” with consumers, leading to a six-point increase in brand consideration and a mid-single digit rise in organic net sales in 2018.
Meanwhile, Cadbury’s agile innovation approach has helped it launch new products such as Cadbury Dark Milk, Freddo Little Treasures and Crispello. It has used these to branch out into more occasions, while also tackling consumers’ growing health concerns with the launch of Cadbury Dairy Milk with 30% less sugar.
However, innovation hasn’t come at the cost of its core product offer, with Cadbury launching its first major campaign for Roses in 20 years to celebrate its 80th anniversary.
It seems this combined investment in both old and new is working. Data from YouGov’s BrandIndex shows Cadbury’s purchase intent has increased from 30.8 to 32.3 over the past 52 weeks.
When Greggs unveiled its vegan sausage roll at the start of year it made headline news thanks to a clever digital campaign.
Tapping into consumers’ growing appetite for ‘flexitarianism’ and timing the launch perfectly for ‘Veganuary’, Greggs teased Twitter with an Apple iPhone-inspired video, detailing the spec of the sausage roll, under the message “The wait is over… 3.1.19”. The playful post sparked a flurry of comments and was retweeted more than 6,000 times and liked by 35,000 Twitter users in less than 24 hours.
Greggs credited the fanfare around the launch with a 9.6% rise in sales for the seven weeks to 16 February.
The brand is particularly strong in its North East heartland where 80% give it a positive rating, according to to data from YouGov. But it is also nationally strong: it is the number one dining brand in eight of the 12 regions, and it never drops below third favourite, the data shows.
The brand has been transforming its product offer and stores in recent years to drive reappraisal, which seems to be working with earnings before interest and tax up 9.2% to £89.8m for 2018.
It might be 72 years old, but Ikea is a prime example of a brand with heritage that is firmly on the front foot and alert to changing consumer trends.
From a new solar panel-powered store in central London and the launch of a subscription model for office furniture in Switzerland, to a commitment to phase out all single-use plastics from its products and stores by 2020, Ikea is a business with sustainability at the top of its agenda and certainly putting its money where its mouth is.
The proof is in the numbers. UK revenue rose by 5.9% to £1.96bn in 2018, with online sales up 14.4% and website visits up 13.4% to just shy of 200 million.
It is Ikea’s forward-thinking approach and ability to stay ahead of the game that have helped it thrive in an increasingly competitive retail landscape.
The past year has been one of transformation for MoneySuperMarket. This culminated last month in the launch of a new brand identity, brand positioning and marketing campaign, all of which have two main goals – to make price comparison more engaging and drive loyalty.
The brand wants to change perceptions of price comparison sites and put customers back in control. As well as making its service more useful by offering complementary services like free MOT and car tax reminders, it has also launched new products such as its credit card monitoring app, which allows it to offer more personalised product recommendations based on a user’s credit history, and a bill monitoring tool, so it can provide more relevant recommendations. All this part of MoneySuperMarket’s new ‘Get money calm’ positioning.
It has also become far more efficient, enabling it to send 200 million fewer but more relevant emails each year, for example, which led to a 12% boost in revenue.
Overall, the group’s preliminary results for 2018 show a 14% rise in operating profit to £108m, while putting customers in control has helped them save an estimated £2.1bn.
Monzo’s bright coral bank cards have been steadily making their way in to more and more wallets as consumers seek out a better way of banking. Currently, Monzo sees between 50,000 and 100,000 users sign up each month, which until now has been driven almost entirely by word of mouth. But reflecting its success to date Monzo is now prepping its first major ad campaign as it looks to “supercharge” its growth, according to the brand’s head of marketing Tristan Thomas.
Among Londoners, Monzo has 40% awareness, which has doubled since July last year as word gets around, according to data from YouGov, while among its core audience of 18- to 34-year-olds awareness is 34%, up from 19% in July 2018.
Nearly three-quarters (73%) of Monzo’s account holders are 34 or under, compared to 24% among Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and NatWest’s customers. And those who hold a Monzo account are much less likely to agree that all banks are the same (59% versus 74%) illustrating the positive sentiment towards the disruptor.
Even in the face of adversity, Morrisons has gone from strength to strength.
It wasn’t long ago that it was fighting for its survival. But 2018 marked another year of rising sales and profits, demonstrating Morrisons is doing all the right things to ensure it is well on the way to recovery.
A continued focus on price and value at a time when economic uncertainty and low consumer confidence is taking its toll on a number of retailers has no doubt worked in Morrisons’ favour over the last 12 months.
The focus on the close relationship Morrisons has with its suppliers is also not only giving it a unique competitive edge, but tapping into consumers’ growing demand for local produce and supply chain transparency.
The supermarket has improved its relationship with suppliers significantly over the last two years, going from bottom to second position in the Grocery Code Adjudicator’s 2018 survey.
Building society Nationwide raised the bar over the past year by taking a high profile stand against online abuse.
Unwilling to stay silent when the spoken word poets featured in its award winning ‘Voices’ campaign received racist, sexist, misogynistic and homophobic abuse online, Nationwide worked with ISBA, the Metropolitan Police and Stop Hate UK to create #ChallengeHate, a protocol for how brands should tackle hate speech on their social platforms.
Then in September it joined forces with Channel 4, Mars and McCain on #TogetherAgainstHate, an ad break takeover featuring three recent campaigns overlaid with real racist, homophobic, violent and discriminatory posts.
From a pure business perspective, Voices, developed in collaboration with creative agency VCCP, had a significant impact on Nationwide’s brand consideration, according to its research, which is currently at its highest level since tracking began. Now one in five bank accounts that are switched are switched to Nationwide. Its analysis shows Voices contributed to 28% of those switched accounts and returned £2.66 of member value for every £1 spent.
Over the past year Netflix has further cemented itself as one of the nation’s most loved brands.
The streaming giant bumped Lidl from the top two in YouGov’s annual BrandIndex buzz rankings ending a dominant run for the German discounters. Netflix only entered the top 10 in 2016 but jumped from third place in 2017, when it scored 14, to second in 2018 with a score of 16.4.
The success was attributed to subscription growth – it now has more than 139 million subscribers globally – as well as the success of its original films and TV series, including Bird Box and Roma (which was nominated for 10 Oscars).
During the fourth quarter the company added 1.5 million new subscribers in the U.S. and 7.3 million new subscribers internationally. Overall, it added 29 million paid subscribers during 2018, up 33% from the 22 million it welcomed in 2017.
And it’s not ready to slow down just yet. Netflix is rumoured to be launching its own print magazine for key industry players as it looks to market its programmes and films in more varied ways.
It has marked a significant year for Nike, not only did the sportswear behemoth challenge stereotypes while championing women in sport, it also drove “record engagement” and boosted sales thanks to its controversial campaign featuring NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, according to Nike’s CEO Mark Parker.
The campaign divided consumers, causing many to boycott the brand, but the risk certainly payed off in terms of awareness. Data from YouGov’s BrandIndex shows Nike’s attention score, which measures if respondents have heard anything about a brand, grew from +9 just before the ad launched to +28 on 11 September (the ad launched on 3 September).
The brand also revealed its Dream Crazier film during the Oscars which shone the spotlight on game changing female athletes who have broken down barriers and inspired future generations. The advert marked the start of Nike’s celebration of women in sport.
Currently, 61% of people have a positive opinion of Nike, according to YouGov BrandIndex, while revenue increased by 7% to $9.6bn in the three months to 28 February 2019.
PayPal has kicked off the year with a bang, recording 2.8 billion payment transactions during the first quarter – a 28% lift compared to the same period last year – enabling $161bn-worth of payments. This was boosted by 9.3 million new accounts being opened, a rise of 15% compared to 2018, taking its total users up to 277 million – a 17% increase.
Innovation is also high on the agenda, with PayPal partnering with Instagram on its new Checkout feature, for example, which enables users to buy directly from brands without leaving the platform.
Not only is PayPal’s business going from strength to strength, it is also an active campaigner for women’s equality in the workplace. To mark International Women’s Day, PayPal unveiled a film featuring female business leaders discussing their experiences and ideas on how to bring gender balance into businesses.
At PayPal women account for 37% of VP roles globally, up 9% from 2015, and they make up 43% of its global workforce. PayPal has also been highlighting female-run businesses by sharing their stories via PayPal.com/IWD, and for every eligible purchase made in March at select retailers, PayPal donated $2 to causes that support women.