Kudos for Breakaway Brands, and their mastery of consumer trends

August 28, 2009

Kudos for Breakaway Brands, and their mastery of consumer trends

In challenging times for brands - when private labels have encroached further on market share – it’s notable that one of the 10 Breakaway Brands cited by Landor Associates research is an innovative purveyor of store brands reputed for their high taste and quality profiles:  Trader Joe’s.

Haagen-Dazs, an indulgent super-premium ice cream brand (an affordable treat in a tough economy), and Special K brand (closely associated with the ‘eating healthy’ trend) are other food brands that made the wide-ranging list, which also includes Apple, Google, Hallmark, National Geographic TV, Payless ShoeSource, PayPal and Super Bowl.

That’s excellent company to be in. We applaud these brands that have displayed “sustained, quantifiable growth between 2005 and 2008…[thanks to effective] brand strategies, marketing execution…staying true to their roots and capitalizing on influential consumer trends,” according to Landor. Together with AOL’s Daily Finance money and finance site, Landor issued its fourth annual Breakaway Brands Study, which uses data from Young & Rubicam Brands’ BrandAsset Valuator.

After screening 2,500 brands in the Y&R database initially, Landor identified hose with the greatest increase in brand strength over three years. Google, Hallmark and National Geographic TV all scored 99 on brand strength in 2005 and 100 in 2008. By comparison, Trader Joe’s posted a brand strength of 93 in 2005 and 98 in 2008; Special K leaped from a brand strength of 60 in 2005 to 87 in 2008; and Haagen-Dazs bounded ahead from a brand strength of 84 in 2005 to 95 in 2008.

The ability to sustain, even advance, brand strength is an interesting part of these measures.  The study “is, for us, a true test of brand-led business success: each has taken the initiative to stretch into new messaging, markets, and/or audiences by building on their core brand strengths and committing to a sustained, business-building idea.  This year’s Top Ten also begin to reflect a growing consumer shift from the halcyon days of conspicuous consumption to a more value-driven dynamic in brand purchase decisions,” says Hayes Roth, chief marketing officer, Landor. “Smart marketers have clearly course-corrected to adapt to new consumer realities, leveraging those aspects of their brands that appeal more to substantive value than glitzy bells and whistles.”

The common threads of these brand leaders, according to an allied study by MBA students at Wake Forest University’s Babcock School of Business:
•    Accelerated focus on healthy eating habits and going green
•    The evolving desire for a digital existence
•    Tapping into a powerful female population

Consider these lessons learned for other brands that want to knock these guys off the list in 2010 and beyond.