British Airways’ Superbrand tops consumer and business brands

British Airways has snared the top spot from Visa in the annual Top 20 Business Superbrands rankings to match its crown as the number one consumer brand in the UK.

The UK’s biggest airline carrier beat more than 1,200 brands to secure the top slot for the first time.

British Airways’ dominance of the list, which was ranked by a panel of marketing experts and 2,000 business professionals, spotlights the gains it made among business travellers last year that saw it serve them a more premium in-flight experience.

The airline also retained its status as the UK’s top consumer uperbrand, holding off Rolex for the second year running. It is further proof that the company’s marketing, which underwent a massive changes in 2011, is resonating with passengers. A marketing shake-up at the turn of the year aims to lift brand preference higher, putting at customer experience at the centre of its marketing and commercial offering.

Marks & Spencer, Cadbury, Heinz and Sony were replaced in the top 20 consumer brand rankings by John Lewis, Dyson, Haagen-Dazs and Virgin Atlantic. All three casualties had to weather tough moments in 2014, whether it was M&S’s continued struggles to reinvent its struggling fashion business or the public backlash at Cadbury after it changed the recipe of its Crème Eggs.

Despite the absence of the big name brands from the list, it is the older ones with stronger heritage that are proving popular with customers.

Stephen Cheliotis, chief executive of The Centre for Brands Analysis and chairman of the Superbrands Council said: “Younger brands, such as the social media giants, are sitting on the sidelines making little impact as a huge battle takes place among trusted, traditional brands seeking to remain relevant and retain their positions among the brand elite.”

One example of a traditional brand doing just that was Lego. The toy brand smashed back into the top 20 consumer brands after a one-year absence, benefiting from the popularity of The Lego Movie. Last month, Lego toppled Ferrari to become the world’s most powerful brand, according to the latest Brand Finance Global 500 report.

Traditional brands may dominant the latest rankings but the younger, more technology focused brands bounced back last year after experiencing a dip with customers. Apple jumped back up four places to 10th, buoyed by the success of its iphones, while Microsoft rose two places to number four following the appointment of company veteran Satya Nadella as its chief executive.

Google and Amazon were the biggest casualties of the technology players, plummeting from seventh to 18th and out of the top 20 altogether respectively. The declines reflect a 12 months that saw Google criticised in Europe over its stance on privacy and regulation and Amazon slammed over the working conditions for staff in its warehouses in the UK.

Consumer Superbrands 2015

1. British Airways

2. Rolex

3. BBC

4. Microsoft

5. Nike

6. John Lewis

7. Gillette

8. Mercedes-Benz

9. Kellogg’s

10. Apple

11. LEGO

12. Andrex

13. Boots

14. Dyson

15. Coca-Cola

16. Fairy

17. BMW

18. Google

19. Häagen-Dazs

20. Virgin Atlantic

Business Superbrands 2015

1. British Airways

2. Apple

3. Virgin Atlantic

4. Microsoft

5. Visa

6. MasterCard

7. Google

8. FedEx

9. IBM

10. Samsung

11. Johnson & Johnson

12. BT

13. Rolls-Royce Group

14. American Express

15. Royal Mail

16. PayPal

17. BP

18. Shell

19. Bosch

20. Boeing

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