Aldi was the highest performing brand with a Buzz score – a measure of the positive and negative things said about a brand over the past two weeks – of 26.3, ahead of Lidl on 20.3. Lidl also topped the “improvers” list with a change in score of 11.6 points.
The only other supermarket to make the top 10 was Waitrose, which came in at sixth with a score of 13.1 (see table below).
YouGov says the improvement underlines the rate at which the discounters have become part of consumers’ everyday shopping habits. Aldi lay in fourth position in the 2013 rankings, while Lidl wasn’t in the top 10.
Sarah Murphy, YouGov BrandIndex director says: “Aldi and Lidl have cemented their place at the top of our rankings due to effective marketing, great value, and an increased perception of quality products.
“While negative stories have often hit larger rivals over the year, the German retailers have been asserting that they are the alternative.”
Both brands have been stealing shoppers from the big four supermarkets, launching high-profile marketing campaigns aimed at proving their quality, as well as price, credentials. The tactic has paid dividiends with both seeing double-digit sales growth through 2014 at a time when the wider market was barely growing and at times slipped into decline, according to Kantar Worldpanel.
Elsewhere, Netflix’s focus on exclusive content helped push it into the top 10 for the first time, with a score of 11.3 enough to give it eighth spot in the rankings.
John Lewis’ 150-year anniversary and Christmas marketing push helped generate significant buzz for the brand, giving it a score of 18.3, while Marks & Spencer’s maintained its position in the top 10.
BBC iPlayer drops to fourth position, from first in 2013, although its popularity has remained constant, as has bbc.co.uk’s. Their continued presence shows the importance of creating trust and a reputation for quality, says Murphy.
The big improvers
Of the biggest improvers, Ryanair’s customer push has paid dividends, with its Buzz score increasing by 10.6 points, although its overall score does remain in negative territory. Embattled energy firms SSE and British Gas also saw significant improvements embarked on multimillion pound marketing campaigns, although again both have a negative score following big price increases (see table below).
There is good news for HMV too, with its Buzz score rising by 7.5 points. Having been on the brink of disappearing in 2013 following bankruptcy, the brand has focused on the in-store experience – holding live gigs and events – to boost performance.
“Brands such as Ryanair, SSE and British Gas will see this as a justification of their efforts to begin to change public perception of their brands. There is still a long way to go for those companies to achieve a positive overall score and a place in the nation’s hearts however,” says Murphy.