Powerful Brands

Paul Morrone |

Every year Brand Finance ranks the most powerful brands in the world, and 2015 came with a big surprise. If I asked everyone who reads this to write down a list of the first 10 brand names that come to mind, there would no doubt be some consistencies. We’d see common household names names like Nike, Coca Cola and Pepsi, luxury brands like Ferrari and Rolex, technology companies like Apple and Microsoft, and McDonalds would no doubt appear on the vast majority of lists. Of course there would be personal bias, maybe relative to your favorite clothing brand, type of car you drive, etc., but when it comes to recognition these brands have withstood the test of time and are instantly recognizable anywhere in the world. I’d bet everyone here could draw the logo for each and every one of the companies I listed above, which is a testament to decades of burning these images into our head.

We all know that it is just not an impressive logo that drives a brands success, but rather what these brands represent and the emotions that they evoke. The tech brands are on the cutting edge, known for making high quality products, the latest and greatest. They suggest innovation and progress. Coke and Pepsi, on the contrary owe their success to the complete opposite, consistency and reliability. Coke tastes the same way as it did when you were a child, and it’s something that you know will always taste the same and bring you back to a time when things were probably much simpler. McDonalds has done something similar, but further targets those warm childhood memories of cheeseburgers and happy meals, likely making you think of positive memories with family and friends.  I don’t know about you, but one of my biggest guilty pleasures to this day is McDonalds french fries.

And that leaves us with the luxury brands, those that symbolize success, prestige and exclusivity. These are bespoke products that are timeless, of the highest quality, and largely inaccessible to the vast majority of the worlds. Less is more with these brands, and Ferrari has even made more money these days by selling less cars! Annual production caps and exclusive personalization of each new vehicle sold gave Ferrari the edge as the most powerful brand in the world for 2014. They have done amazing things with the brand, by owning a Ferrari you aren’t simply purchasing a vehicle, you are buying into a lifestyle. What I find most intriguing, however, is that the most powerful brand of 2015 is definitely not in my top 10, and likely isn’t in yours either. LEGO has claimed the top spot for 2015, largely due to its success with the LEGO movie and playing to its biggest strengths as a nostalgic, fun product. As Brand Finance puts it: ‘Everything is Awesome’ for Lego!

‘Lego is the World’s most powerful brand. It scores highly on a wide variety of measures on Brand Finance’s Brand Strength Index such as familiarity, loyalty, promotion, staff satisfaction and corporate reputation. Lego is a uniquely creative and immersive toy; children love the ability to construct their own worlds that it provides. In a tech-saturated world, parents approve of the back-to-basics creativity it encourages and have a lingering nostalgia for the brand long after their own childhoods. The Lego Movie perfectly captured this cross-generational appeal. It was a critical and commercial success, taking nearly US$500m since its release a year ago. It has helped propel Lego from a well-loved, strong brand to the World’s most powerful.‘ (http://www.brandfinance.com/news/press_releases/lego-overtakes-ferrari-a...)