The top 20 consumer brands in the UK has just been compiled by Superbrand. According to 33 industry experts and 2,500 British adults, the list looks like this:


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


Big news this year being the decline and disappearance of new industries/new media brands. Google outside the top 10? Facebook and Twitter not worth a place in the list at all?

We always take lists like this with a pinch of salt. The judging criteria makes an effort to be open, stating that a ‘Superbrand’ must offer customers significant emotional and/or tangible advantages over its competitors, which customers want and recognise. But the nature of brands means we are not comparing like for like, and further, the spheres in which each brand operates are not comparable. In comparing, say, Google with Häagen-Dazs, the list doesn’t tell us how the search engine and online advertising industry compares with the posh (but undeniably more delicious) ice cream field. It doesn’t tell us because it can’t. Superbrands is itself a well branded PR exercise. No bad thing, and having recognised that, we can at least take a look at what stands out from the list.


    • They are mostly traditional consumer brands. An example of the different way we feel and interact with new media brands and traditional brands. I think it is fair to say that there is better value for money from a free service like Twitter than a paid for one like British Airways – but the all important experience of consumption is as ephemeral as last month’s most popular tweet. Purely digital brands just don’t allow the consumer to ‘consume’ in the way that a traditional brand often does.


        • From a brand design perspective, having a product we can see, hold and/or experience still matters hugely to the perception of a brand. Coca-Cola might have an impressive digital presence, but it relies on the branded real world presence. Their best marketing campaigns represent

    wonderful integration

         between the world we share digitally and the so familiar brand guidelines we see in every retail outlet.


    • As important as it is to have a brand you can ‘see’, is the history of the brand. Looking at the list, perhaps the one thing all those brands have in common is that they are so successfully storied. They have a narrative (even if it isn’t that old), and are excellent protectors of it.