John Lewis and M&S outperform Amazon on UK brand health list despite financial woes

John Lewis Christmas ad 2017, Buster the Boxer

YouGov has revealed the ‘healthiest’ brands in the UK in 2018 with retailer John Lewis taking the top spot.

While it may rank higher than Amazon on the list, John Lewis saw profits fall 77% between 2017 and 2018 showing that brand health does not necessarily translate to business health.

The survey polled consumers to rate the 'health' or their perception of 1,350 brands across the following metrics: impression, quality, value, satisfaction, recommend and reputation. The pulse of the public was taken from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018.

John Lewis took the top spot with 41.9 and BBC iPlayer followed at 39.2. Marks & Spencer (39.0). Heinz (37.8), Ikea (36.5), Samsung (36.3), Amazon (36.0), Cathedral City (35.7), BBC One (35.5) and Boots (34.9) completed the list.

It is John Lewis’ second year at the top of the list. Notably two BBC products featured in the top ten.

Additionally, while it may be true that the high street is struggling, the physicality and heritage of top outlets could have contributed to John Lewis, M&S and Ikea scoring higher than market disruptor and ecommerce giant Amazon. M&S and Boots, in addition to John Lewis, have all been moving to upgrade their businesses with agility to reconnect with consumers and generate greater profits.

There other were major shifts on the list.

Sports Direct had the biggest change of 6.1 points, from the massively negative -12.4 in 2017 to a slightly less damaging -6.2 a year later. Netflix also moved up 5.9 to 25.4, Tui had a 5.4 boost to 9.5 (perhaps reflecting the success of its rebrand) and Southern Train improved by 4.8 to reach -11.3.

McDonald’s sits at -3.6 with a 3.9 improvement.

Amelia Brophy, head of data products UK at YouGov, told The Drum: “YouGov’s BrandIndex rankings underline how traditional high-street favourites such as John Lewis and Marks and Spencer continue to evoke strong feelings among consumers. Both are clearly well-regarded by shoppers.

"However, despite this affection, both brands have experienced difficult times in recent months. While the public can be enamoured by a powerful Christmas campaign, believe a company offers great quality or sense that an organisation has an impressive staff policy, this does not necessarily mean they will continue to rush through the doors as the industry evolves and new competition enters the market."

She added that brand favouritism and perception, may not always par with consumer behaviour. "These brands have always been British favourites, but this can mean that people don’t necessarily interrogate how they feel about those brands. Consumer behaviours are changing as we know, but that doesn’t always translate into an immediate change in how they see brands they’ve known for a while."

Brophy concluded: "This also works the other way of course. For example, damaging stories have enveloped brands such as Sports Direct and Ryanair, but consumers are often able to put aside their distaste, and continue to shop with the company if it is very competitive on price. In short, financial results and consumer favour are not always in line.”

Check out last year's list here. Or take a closer look at the 2018 best and worst performers on YouGov.

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