British Airways ‘superbrand’ dominates among businesses and consumers alike

British Airways has knocked Visa from the number one position in the annual top 20 Business Superbrands rankings as it also extends its consumer brand dominance.

The UK’s largest airline took the 2015 crown, which was chosen by a panel of marketing experts and 2,000 British business professionals, for the first time.

BA pipped Apple to the top position as the iPhone maker rose one position to second from the previous year. Rival Samsung dropped two places to 10th.

Over the last year, BA has invested in premiumising the in-flight experience and updating its fleet by introducing hi-tech ‘happiness’ blankets and upgrading cabins to draw in more business travellers.

An underlying theme of this year’s list, compiled by the Superbrands Council, is the strong placing of the payment sector, with Visa (2nd), Mastercard (6th), American Express (14th) and PayPal (16th) all in prominent positions.

“The theme of this year’s results is very much about the leading brands consolidating their brand equity and extending the gap over their rivals,” says Stephen Cheliotis, chief executive of The Centre for Brands Analysis and chairman of the Superbrands Council.

“This means that it will take a huge effort from any upcoming brand to dislodge the established elite.”

It was also good news for British Airways on the respective Consumer Superbrands list. British Airways retained its crown having taken 19 years to top the annual barometer, which is voted by the British public in a national survey of 2,500, last year.

One of the biggest losers on the consumer barometer was M&S, which fell out of the top 20 for the first time since 2009. Its fierce department store rival John Lewis (6th), meanwhile, entered the list for the first time since 2012.

Google also fell 11 places, dropping from 7th to 18th. It capped off a miserable placing for the search engine provider, which also fell five places on the top 20 business Superbrands rankings to place 7th.

“For British Airways to lead both surveys is remarkable, especially considering over 1,500 well-known consumer brands and 1,200 business brands were analysed,” added Cheliotis.

“Its overarching ‘To Fly: To Serve’ positioning and daily focus on exceptional service clearly continues to resonate with flyers, while the brand is also benefiting from recent investments in its planes, lounges, marketing and technology.”