For quite some time, I have been predicting that the future of retail will be driven by stronger branding and increasingly digitally influenced, immersive customer experiences. COVID-19 became a major accelerator of digital transformation trends, with technology often becoming the differentiator to changes in consumer loyalty.
The pandemic ushered in an unprecedented level of channel switching and brand loyalty disruption. A whopping 75 percent of consumers tried new shopping behaviors, with many of them citing convenience and value. Fully 39 percent of them, mainly Gen Z and Millennials, deserted trusted brands for new ones. That restlessness is reflected in the fact that many younger consumers say that they are still searching for brands that reflect their values.
This article summarizes the continued importance of branding focusing on the 2022 leaders as researched in one of my favorite annual reports from Brand Directory / Brand Finance.
Strong Brands Consistently Outperform the Market
According to McKinsey, “the world’s 40 strongest brands yielded almost twice the total return to shareholders (TRS) of an investment in a Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) World index certificate over the course of the 20-year period ending in 2019.”
Some other interesting statistics about the value of branding include:
- It takes five to seven impressions for people to remember a brand.
- 73 percent of consumers love a brand because of helpful customer service
- Presenting a brand consistently across all platforms can increase revenue by up to 23 percent.
- Brands with poor company branding pay a 10 percent higher salary.
- 89 percent of shoppers stay loyal to brands that share their values.
- 73 percent of people prefer brands that personalize shopping experiences.
- Consumers expect brands to demonstrate they know them on a personal level.
As McKinsey summarized, “personalization is a force multiplier—and business necessity—one that more than 70 percent of consumers now consider a basic expectation. Organizations able to build and activate the capability at scale can put customer lifetime value on a new trajectory—driving double-digit revenue growth, superior retention, and richer, more nurturing long-term relationships.”
The Top 5 Global Retail Brands
According to the 2020 Brand Finance retail research, “American and European retail brands are leading the global retail sector in bouncing back better from the pandemic, with Amazon (brand value up 38 percent to $350.3 billion) and Walmart (brand value up 20 percent to $111.9 billion) leading the way. In a world of changing customer demand and disrupted supply chains, these big retailers are applying their logistics expertise to adapt in innovative ways to the ‘new normal.’ Increasingly, these mega retail brands are bringing logistics operations in-house and using their vertical integration to deliver—literally—for customers.”
Seven out of the 10 highest value brands are from the United States. The other three in the top 10 are from China. Note that the two Chinese brands in the top 5 have low brand value growth.
The US department store retailer Burlington with a brand value of $2.6 billion, up 80 percent, is the world’s fastest growing retail brand. Chinese retailer JD.com and US retailer Target broke into the top 10 in the 2022 report.
A Peek into the Fastest Growing Technology Brands
Interesting this year is the crossover of Amazon as the number two most valuable technology brand.
Not surprising is Apple being number one and Google, Microsoft, and Facebook appearing in the top 5. The Chinese retailers Taobao and Tmall also make an appearance on the technology brand value leadership list at number 10 and 11, respectively. Outside Samsung (number six technology brand), US and Chinese brands dominate the top 10 most valuable technology brands in the world.
Retail and technology are forever linked. Continued innovation coupled with strong branding is what will deliver a prosperous future of retail.