In 2020 connection will be more important than ever

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In 2020, brand building will be paramount

As we approach 2020, building connection has never been more important. 2019 has been a year of unprecedented rapid change, change which shows no sign of abating. The ability for people, brands and businesses to create lasting connections has become fundamental to both personal and professional success.

It’s crazy out there. For brands looking to thrive in an era of expanding customer expectations and constant competitive disruption, they must continually find new ways to connect with consumers in order to thrive and grow. Those that do are what we call #MostConnected - the brands which are indispensable to consumers’ daily lives. They challenge conventions, build unbreakable bonds, and define how we interact. And they do this while remaining true to who they are.

Any brand can improve their consumer connectivity and thrive.

In 2018 Opinium created ‘The Most Connected Brands Index’ to help showcase our ‘Brand Strength Tool’ which helps businesses and brands understand how they are connecting with consumers and provide them with ways to improve.

The Most Connected Brand Index and our Brand Strength tool is the combination of four key brand metrics which are weighted together to produce a one number summary of a brand’s ability to connect with consumers.

We measure connection across four key characteristics:

  • Prominence: The brand’s presence and scale
  • Distinction: The brand’s unique identity and ability to set brands
  • Emotion: The brand’s ability to form emotional relationships
  • Dynamism: The brand’s momentum and social traction

Gaining ground

So which brands have performed well in the UK this year and which have lost ground?

The brands with the most momentum in our 2019 top 100 index straddle the entertainment services, FMCG, and retail sectors. What this shows is that connection isn’t inherent to any individual sector but a unique bond between the individual and the brand. The diversity in the list of brands with momentum was encouraging, not just in terms of sectors but also in the very different ways each brand forges a connection with consumers.

We have Walkers that leverages emotion, Netflix which is charged with dynamism, Aldi prominence and LEGO distinction. All of the key movers play to different strengths and show the importance of measuring multiple facets of connection. However, behind each increase there is a story, be it clear-sighted marketing decisions, brave creative campaigns or great product innovation.

Walkers is an example of a brand steeped in the very fabric of the nation. Our study shows that Walkers is a brand that makes us smile. That's something Walkers marketing director Fernando Kahane recognises, explaining Walkers is “not in the business of crisps, we are in the business of enjoyment”. However, the brand hasn’t relied on nostalgia alone, releasing a new Spice Girls fronted campaign to spark conversation along with a two-pronged approach to product innovation and a punchy new product flavours targeting younger palettes and a baked range for more health-conscious consumers.

Netflix has revolutionised the way we consumer entertainment, invested considerably in its own content and pervaded the public consciousness to the degree it has entered the urban dictionary as a well-known euphemism. That all leads to it being seen as a brand that pushes boundaries, makes us smile, and caters for everyone’s unique needs in our study.

Aldi’s strength is anchored in value for money, disrupting the category with its no-frills approach, and in recognising there is satisfaction to be had in low prices.

LEGO taps into the child in all of us: We all remember our first set, or the look on our child’s face as they received their own. However, LEGO also hasn’t relied on nostalgia, most recently investing in movies, video games, YouTube channels, and even theme parks.

Winners and losers

However, where there are winners there are also losers. The three key fallers in our top 50 all face unique and clear challenges.

For the BBC it is the drip-drip of negative media attention, coupled with the fact that competition for our interest has never been higher, via the rise of streaming services.

The challenge facing PayPal is remaining disruptive and relevant in the rapidly evolving FinTech category, where safety and speed are now hygiene factors.

Dyson potentially suffers from a polarising stance on the political issue of Brexit, along with the poorly timed decision to move their headquarters to Singapore.

Whether you read Most Connected Brands from cover to cover, or simply flick through the pages until something catches your eye, we hope this report interests, excites and inspires you to create, build and grow the connections that matter to you.

James Endersby, Chief executive at Opinium.

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