Brands & their Impact on the Market

April 7, 2008’s recently-concluded global survey on the influence of brands threw into light plenty of results which pretty much fall within expectations, but also several disparaging ones as well.


TThe Apple Logoaking the runaway lead is, of course without surprise, Apple. The brand has really revolutionized the entire globe and taken the First World by storm with its range of products from their MacBook laptops, to iPods to the iPhones. The brand in itself signifies a modernization of terms – the acrylic white surface characteristic of the brand clearly an indication of the purity of the brand, as well as a presentation of everything modern and futuristic. People literally wait with bated breaths for the overpriced new releases from the company. With its stylish range of products, especially the iPod, the popularity of the brand has grown somewhat exponentially over the past five years or so. From playing second fiddle to Microsoft in the computer market, Apple has found its own niche group, and has clearly used that to expand its reputation and attractiveness, and eventually, its market. Today, the brand signifies a societal status and style which people love to flaunt despite their very own complaints of its generally user-unfriendly features. Founder Steve Jobs really knows how to work his magic around the technological market.  The brand took the lead in 6/10 questions, such as “What brand would you most like to sit next to at a dinner party? Why?” and “What brand, if sent back 100 years, would have the biggest impact on the course of history? How?”.


Microsoft LogoMicrosoft, coming in second in terms of popularity results, has certainly lost its edge and avant-garde appeal to the masses in comparison to Apple. Perhaps as an effort to rebrand its model, the company released Windows Vista, which, in my humble opinion, has modernized the brand to a great extent yet to a rather lukewarm response on the market. I guess it’s probably time for Bill Gates to consider tweaking its marketing strategy a little such as to compete with Apple’s growing popularity.


Google LogoAlso performing well in the poll is leading search engine Google, the revolutionary search engine which has definitely replaced Yahoo as the primary search engine on the Internet. What makes Google tick is probably its simplicity. Visit its homepage, and you’re offered a simple website (certainly a Plain Jane in comparison to its other counterparts such as Yahoo or AltaVista) with merely a textbox and a search button on it, apart from a few other links. Also, the search engine has the ability to upkeep its stand on modern times, and its consumer-centric position really makes it a winner.


However, apart from these runaway organizations apparently taking a large contingency of votes, it was a no-show for various sectors as they perhaps are too commonplace to strike a lasting impression among consumers.


Firstly, the fashion and apparel industry. Despite the myriad of brands setting up stores worldwide following the onset of globalization, it does not really come as a surprise that something so commonplace – clothing – fail to make that large an impact on the poll. This is probably an after-effect of consumer saturation of the market – too many companies and brands crowding the market with similar items which result in a lack of prominence to the crowd. While the logos are certainly different, a Banana Republic shirt can most certainly be mistaken as something from, perhaps, Ben Sherman or Cortefiel. Likewise, Topman, River Island, Zara, FCUK et all also offer comparable items at comparable prices. So do Fossil, Swatch, Therefore, the marketing of the product takes on paramount importance today in leaving vivid impressions in the consumer base. The most successful, in my opinion, of all, actually charted – Nike – with its simplistic yet catchy logo and catchphrase “Just Do It!”. The brand has become synonymous with sports, and certainly is the market leader no matter how popular Adidas and Puma are becoming today. On the contrary, keeping up with the times is certainly important, and that is something stores like Asics have to do to maintain their relevance.


Next, the F&B industry performed rather poorly with the exception of McDonalds, Coca-Cola and Starbucks. These 3 stores are tittered around the globe and transcend languages and continents to reach out to the world. However, there were no signs of Burger King, Subway et al.


It is also somewhat surprising to note that amidst the dominance of Apple and Microsoft, essentially computer system brands, and online sites Google and Facebook, other technological brands did not fare as well. Handphone models such as Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Samsung and Motorola all fail to chart in any of the categories. What about technological companies such as Panasonic, Sharp, LG, Sony, Casio etc? Neither did Youtube, which revolutionalised an online video-sharing community, myspace, Blogger, from which the fad for blogging debuted, Skype, the popular global voice messaging and conferencing devise, or Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia with the communal touch.  


While the survey results may not prove to be conclusive, given that the poll size is small (approximately 2,000 in 107 different countries, which means an average of 20 people representing the tastes of a nation), they certainly can act as a milestone of the paradigm shift global trends have taken over the past few years, as well as a benchmark of better things to come in the future.


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