All answers pertain to the 2008 calendar year.
Which brand was the most controversial?
The Top Five: General Motors, Benetton, Pepsi, Apple, Facebook
BC: According to brandjunkies, the following qualities can mark brands with controversy: aloofness, arrogance, unchecked opportunism, unmitigated edge, mortality, illness, presumption and lack of conviction. Branding industry experts accept that problems and controversies are inevitable, but how brands react to crisis is crucial. All too often brands become insular when they should focus on transparency—which is a commitment to honesty. And on their way to being transparent, they should leave the private jet at home.
Which brand provided the best retail environment?
The Top Five: Apple, Target, Walmart, Starbucks, Ikea
BC: Retailers—remember the fundamentals! Our survey respondents have clearly stated that consumers value maneuverability, cleanliness, customer service, interactivity and—of course—affordability. Stores designed around customer navigation, brand-consistent aesthetics and entertainment—all while offering savings—scored highly. And despite a troubled year, Starbucks still receives praise for being part of the neighborhood.
Which brand launched the quirkiest name?
The Top Five: Snuggie, Koodo, Ziggo, Cuil, Timeless
BC: What’s in a name?
Millions of dollars. Months of work. Centuries of language. Levels of meaning. Waves of sound. Ideals, beliefs and personality. And sometimes, even math. Google, a ubiquitous brand name commonly used as a verb, is supposedly derived from the word googol, a term representative of the number 10 raised to the power of 100. As with most names, there is a story behind the name and a name behind the story.
Though many respondents chose notable brand names that were launched before last year—Hulu, Twitter and Wii—this year’s crop of quirky brand names fully represents the serious but peculiar challenges inherent to deciding exactly what is in a name.
Which brand produced the most innovative and enticing packaging for its products?
The Top Five: Apple, Coca-Cola, Method, Pepsi, Innocent
Every detail of an iPod's packaging builds into the experience of the product: simple, functional and plain beautiful. The crystal plastic case is cleverly designed to contain the product, with its cables and wires, without the classic polystyrene bulks, making it easier to handle, open, and reuse.
I like Apple's packaging. It’s sleek and minimalist. It is not cluttered by too much info. The main desire is to showcase the product. Apple carries this view through all that it does, from the way it designs the computers and Ipods to the way they design their stores. It is very iconic, and easily recognized even if in a new context. ie movies, TV and other media.
Because I think all of the packages it produces are innovative, different and provocative.
BC: Like art, critiquing package design is subjective and convincing arguments can be made regarding differing opinions on the same subject. Nevertheless, Apple was the clear winner in this category, and though we often hear from Apple critics who disparage readers for exhibiting inexplicable loyalty, the argument surrounding the art of packaging is rendered moot by the fact that you can’t argue with success. Apple wins here—big time.
Also, judging from reader reaction to this article, it’s apparent that many of our readers are designers with a passion for packaging. As one respondent wrote in answer to this question, echoing the sentiments of many brandchannel readers, “Definitely not Tropicana.”
What brand orchestrated the most effective rebrand?
Top Five Answers: Pepsi, Walmart, Thomson Reuters, Xerox, Woolworths (Australia)
BC: Successful brands, just like successful people, can find themselves lost, in need of spiritual and physical rejuvenation, or just a more clearly defined sense of self. Change often brings controversy (see Pepsi in question #1), but it also brings opportunity—both to succeed and fail. Executing an effective rebrand begins with diligent research to fully understand the hearts and minds of brand loyal consumers. The fate of every rebrand is not a matter of logos, color schemes or taglines, but human desire.
Which brand had the most successful viral marketing?
Top Five Answers: Facebook, Apple, Obama, Google, Nike
BC: Since the first webpage went online, business leaders everywhere have asked their staff this question: how can we generate money via the Internet? The answer: by generating relationships.
In this tech-fuelled world where people expect information instantly and for free, clever brands realize that time is indeed money, and they have invested their time into building consensus—whether that is for a buttonless phone, a political candidate or a basketball shoe. Savvy and dynamic brands partake in viral marketing campaigns that cultivate a sense of shared values and understanding—particularly with demographics underappreciated by conventional media campaigns—branding enthusiasts, for example. As one survey respondent wrote, “This survey is viral.”
Which brand truly made an effort at being green and eco-friendly?
Top Five Answers: None, Toyota, Apple, The Body Shop, British Petroleum
BC: Consumers are incredibly skeptical of dubious eco-friendly claims, and express resentment about disingenuous brands that lie about a concern of great interest to them. It is impossible for most brands—especially those in the auto industry—to truly go green, so the best they can do is lead the effort without lying in the process. But just like last year, the number one answer to this question is a resounding ”none.”
Which brand was best able to rebound from a crisis?
Top Five Answers: Apple, McDonald’s, Ford, Maple Leaf Foods, Goldman Sachs
BC: At a time when many families and individual consumers are facing crisis, they—now perhaps more than ever—are looking for sacrifice, honor and heroism from wherever they can find it—even in their brands. Brands that have chosen to keep cool, deny government bailouts, face economic challenges with creativity, rise from disaster by looking consumers in the eyes and accepting both blame and responsibility or openly restructure ineffective business paradigms will reap the benefits of their stoicism, imagination and competence.
Which celebrity had the best relationship with a brand?
Top Five Answers: Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, George Clooney, David Beckham, Barack Obama
BC: Once solely the domain of athletes and actors, President Barack Obama is bringing change to the celebrity endorsement game. Unlike paid personalities who pimp their reputations while hawking credit cards, coffee and clothes on television, the President’s unsolicited and sincere attachment to his favorite technology just may provide a glimpse into the future of brand sponsorships. Surprisingly, the top five answers to this question are all men. Sorry, Paris.
Which nation brand improved its appeal the most?
Top Five Answers: USA, China, India, Australia, Brazil
BC: In a year when just about everything conceivable lost value, capital, and stock, some nation brands made notable improvements to their brands in the global community. As the world redefines itself amid uncertainty and financial turmoil, elections, Olympics and cultural mores all played a part in defining which nations increased their standing in the world.
What was the most inspiring brand?
Top Five Answers: Apple, Obama, Nike, Coca-Cola, Google
BC: Strong brands are inspirational and represent not only products, but also systems of beliefs and values. Weak brands misrepresent themselves in an effort to gain popularity and sell products—greenwashing, for instance. Yet the brands mentioned above stand for creativity, imagination, health, and sustainable development. According to the pedestrian definition of branding explains, “Branding is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” Well, brandchannel provided the room, and the brands above should be quite happy to hear what’s being said about them.