Dyson is Britain’s ‘healthiest’ brand in terms of purpose, innovation, communications, brand experience and love, according to Kantar Millward Brown’s first UK BrandZ study.
The tech and home appliances company, which comes 32nd in the overall list of the UK’s top 50 most valuable brands, leads the way in separate ranking of Britain’s most healthy brands, an indicator of potential for future growth.
Positioned just behind Dyson in terms of brand health are the likes of Ovo Energy, AO.com, Premier Inn and easyJet. Despite not appearing in the wider top 50 due to their lack of scale, these brands have disrupted a category either through a strong sense of purpose, seamless brand experience or fresh innovation.
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“Premier Inn and easyJet, for example, have come in and shaken up a category, but they’re still financially not making enough and that’s why they’ve not pushed into the top 50,” explains Jane Bloomfield, head of sales and marketing at Kantar Millward Brown.
“Premier Inn listened to customers and expanded the experience. If you look at easyJet the company has had very clear leadership. They’ve had a really clear purpose and vision.”
“Disruption is such a grand claim, isn’t it? Harbouring a desire to disrupt in a space where expectations are so low shouldn’t really be that hard,” says O’Brien.AO.com director of brand, Andy O’Brien, puts the brand’s health down to being “very honest”, alongside an agile and entrepreneurial energy which has carried through since the company was founded in 2000. The company’s ambition is not to be a “disruptor”, but to make life better for consumers.
“I imagine many have realised that a few simple changes to the process of selecting, ordering and receiving white goods will truly disrupt. The real magic is in the science of making that happen.”
Reflecting on the UK’s perceived innovation gap compared to the rest of the world, O’Brien believes this says more about what we consider “innovation” to be, rather than a true reflection of the ability of British companies.
“A lot of ‘innovation’ is simply shiny tech that makes a lot of noise and, therefore, attracts temporary attention. Real innovation affects deep and lasting change – and a lot of that happens here in the UK. So I think it’s a question of labelling,” he suggests.
Innovation will play a central role in the development of the AO.com brand going forward, particularly in protecting and enhancing the business model. To support this strategy the company has opened the UK’s largest white goods recycling plant, enabling its engineers to take away old appliances and recycle them.
“What we’ve done thus far can be copied. It’s hard to do, but it can be done,” says O’Brien. “All we did was work out how to do it really well. So this is a really pivotal time for AO. We continue to invent, to do things differently, to do things better.”
Looking at the top 50 and beyond, Peter Walshe, BrandZ global strategy director at Kantar Millward Brown, sees a lot of potential leaders emerging in the British business landscape, as long as they’re prepared to really “walk the talk” on leadership.
“If brand is at the centre of everything and then it will grow up healthier and get bigger,” he explains. “However, difference always leads. Brands that are different grow much faster, but the key thing that accelerates that is if that difference is relevant or meaningful. You’ve got an edge, but that has got to deliver into the experience.”