Recently Watties and Whittakers topped New Zealands most trusted brands survey, these iconic kiwi brands have a brand reputation which they nurture and promote and many consumers identify and trust these brands. Until 2010 Cadbury featured on the top of this list but after a public relations nightmare with a product change, they still have not recovered their brand reputation in New Zealand.
Brand Reputation is separate from that of a traditional branding campaign. Brand Reputation recognizes that with increased transparency and the wave of social media networks, ‘traditional branding’ whether through mission statements, marketing or affiliations can easily be assessed and evaluated.
It is easy to take a “brand” for granted – it is largely ‘intangible’, but as many companys’ have found, it comes down to the perception of the consumer and how they view your brand that contributes to your business brand reputation and the success of your product or service.
Times have certainly changed and more and more brands are increasing their focus on the brand, sometimes it seems like the “brand” trumps the product in terms of its importance to the consumer, organizations have embraced themselves as the brand.
Still, at the centre of all this is the internet. Consumers have greater access to information they are better informed to decide how and where they spend their money. This empowerment has resulted in making businesses more accountable.
Recent business trends have proven that brands by themselves are of increasing importance. Business leaders and financiers are recognizing that a strong branding can be turned into increased revenue. For example, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are all companies with exceptionally strong brands but whose revenue (Though this is changing now) have been low or non-existent.
The strongest brands are grown organically and over time, they start with a focus on building internal relationships. But as in Whittakers case they strengthened their brand and its image on the back of a bad publicity run on a rival product. They had a solid brand but really launched a national campaign at exactly the right time and two years on they are the top of the trusted brands list.