Cadbury earns status as most authentic brand in the food industry
Cadbury has been named as Australia’s most authentic food brand in the second landmark Authentic Brand Index (ABI) study released by Principals and Synovate, with Microsoft coming out on top overall.
The ABI is the only study to measure the authenticity of global and local brands among Australian consumers.
Technology brands, like Google and Microsoft, are emerging as more powerful brands than the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) giants that have dominated Australian marketing for decades.
Microsoft was followed in the top bracket of 2008 by Google, Australia Post, Bunnings, Bonds and Cadbury. Leading the charge for the food industry after Cadbury were Vegemite (no. 8), McDonald’s (10), Coca-Cola (12), Kellogg’s and Nestle (19).
Bunnings has now outstripped its new Coles Group stablemates as the most authentic retail brand in Australia.
The Authentic Brand Index is a joint venture between brand consultancy Principals and market research company Synovate. The 2008 Authentic Brand Index (ABI) ranks more than 100 brands across a wide variety of industries and tracks their authentic delivery to consumers over time.
In an age of abundant brand choice, consumers are drawn toward brands with a distinctive story, an original edge and a sincere commitment to deliver what they promise. “There is real evidence this year that consumers are holding brands more to account and are increasingly critical in their assessment of their authentic credentials. Overall, consumers were less likely to rate brands as authentic in 2008 than previously,” Principals Planning Director Wayde Bull said. “It’s unlikely to get easier for brands in future, given the further growth of social media and the abundance of unfiltered third-party information available to the consumer.”
More than 4,500 consumers participated in this year’s study. The fieldwork was undertaken over a two-month period from mid-March through to mid-May and a total of 104 brands (up from 70 in 2006) were tracked for their authentic engagement with consumers.
The industries covered by the study include airlines, banking & finance, telecommunications, retail, grocery, fashion, automotive and personal technology, establishing the best and worst performers in each industry.
In 2006 the study discovered seven drivers that consistently differentiated between brands considered to be authentic and inauthentic, independent of category and industry. Those seven drivers are: personal utility, familiarity, originality, declared beliefs, sincerity, momentum and heritage.
“Authenticity is an important business concept today. It speaks to the need for businesses to truly align their products, services and channels to market and deliver experiences that customers value and are consistent with the brand promise,” said Dean Harris, Synovate Director of Client Services. “Authentic brands have a clarity of purpose that is sincerely executed. Authenticity is the new battleground for the hearts and minds of customers and the extent to which brands are seen to be authentic will ultimately determine the success of a brand in its market.”
This year, the study was able to identify the greatest increases and decreases in authenticity over the last two years – a measure of how quickly perceptions of companies can change in the minds of the consumer.
The top five brands that increased in authenticity included IGA, although grocery brands were among the sectors which witnessed a decline in authenticity levels since the last ABI in 2006. “The importance of sincerity simply can’t be overstated; brands that think about the customer first are rewarded. The most sincere brands make straightforward promises and keep them. They don’t over-hype, they don’t over-reach, they’re unapologetically simple in many ways,” Mr Bull added. “There’s an earnest and hard-working quality to brands such as Bunnings, IGA, Australia Post and McDonald’s that’s about serving customers with ‘look-you-in-the-eye’ sincerity.”