John Lewis has cemented its place as the Britain's premier brand after topping YouGov’s 2020 Best Brand Rankings for the fourth year straight. The retailer's performance is all the more remarkable for having been achieved against a backdrop of pandemic-driven chaos.John Lewis shrugged aside a strong challenge from Netflix which ranked number two for brand health as well as being named most improved brand after being buoyed by a captive lockdown audience.
2020: the brand winners and losers
YouGov’s Best Brand Rankings are calculated on an ’index’ score weighted by BrandIndex data, taking into account factors such as the average of impression, quality, value, satisfaction, recommend and reputation.
Taking all this into account John Lewis emerged on top for a fourth year straight, despite racking up its first-ever half-year loss on the back of an uncertain economic outlook and pandemic-prompted lockdowns.
The retailer’s innate strength was sufficient to see off a strong challenge from Netflix, which claimed second place and a brand index rating of 42.2 after storming into the UK top 10 for the first time by hoovering up captive audiences – fresh from topping the YouGov Buzz ranking.
In third place with a score of 41.8 is Visa, a rise from fifth place last year, while John Lewis rival Marks & Spencer saw its standing decline, dropping from third place to fourth despite increasing its rating by 2.9 points to 41.8.
Another riser is Cadbury which wrapped up the year in fifth place with a mark of 41.4, elevated by an influential advertising campaign promoting kindness during lockdown. In sixth place was the Royal Mail at 41.2, perhaps driven by a renewed appreciation of the service among home shoppers.
Illustrating the fickle nature of the ranking Ikea suffered the biggest drop, slumping from second place in 2019 to seventh this time around despite increasing its rating by 2.2 points to 41.1.
Rounding out the top ten in eighth, ninth and 10th place respectively were Boots (38.3), Cathedral City (37.8) and Samsung (37.7) – all holds from the year before.
This year’s ‘most improved’ brands for UK consumers
Turning to the most improved brands Netflix showed the greatest gain, leaping by an impressive 7.1 points.
Outlining the secrets of John Lewis’ success YouGov wrote: “While the retailer has undoubtedly faced financial hardships such as closing stores and scrapping staff bonuses for the first time in more than 60 years, the rankings show the power of a strong brand.“
Pivoting to Netflix the report added: “Undoubtedly the coronavirus crisis has created a changing consumer market that will require brands to listen to consumer needs and wants and change accordingly – Netflix has achieved this and has subsequently significantly improved its standing from our 2019 rankings.”
Nipping at Netflix’s heels is the National Lottery which just missed out on top honours with an improvement of seven points, ahead of Amazon Prime Video which was up 6.6.
Ryanair improved by 6.1 points to claim the fourth spot although this bounce comes from a very low base of negative 31 last year, with the travails of customers seeking refunds likely to depress sentiment further going forward.
The remainder of the most improved brand ranking comprises fifth Cadbury (+6.0), WhatsApp in seventh (+5.3), eighth-placed Lotus Biscoff (+5.1) and ninth-placed Coca-Cola (+5.0). Quick-service retailers Greggs landed in sixth place (+5.5) while Pret A Manger claimed 10th position (+4.8)
The international picture was very different with Google taking the best brand spot for the world as a whole, with the top five ranking dominated by tech brands WhatsApp, YouTube, Samsung and Amazon.