• Transform magazine
  • April 26, 2019

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Insights: Building a brand to stand the test of time

Future Brand thought author _Enshalla_Anderson_Bio_LowRes (1).jpg

At the 2018 Transform Awards North America, the best in rebranding and brand development was celebrated. FutureBrand was one of the winners

As we collectively take stock a decade after one of the worst economic collapses in recent memory, we see a new and digitised world – offering optimism, possibility, and the opportunity for brands to rip up the traditional playbook for success. Retailers thrive without physical stores. Content providers no longer have to create or own any actual content. New innovators are emerging. Netflix and YouTube dominate 25% of global internet traffic. And Apple became the first trillion dollar company this summer with Amazon, Alphabet and Microsoft all in hot pursuit.

The recent launch of the FutureBrand Index revealed that despite the meteoric rise of these new players – and everyone wanting to be like them – they’re not the only ones best positioned to thrive in the future. The index ranks PwC’s Top 100 companies, assessing how futureproof brands are by measuring brand perception across six key categories that ladder up to experience and purpose. Looking beyond valuations, we reveal which companies are poised for strong future momentum. And the key finding this year is that numerous pre-Millennium, long established and familiar companies are showing resilience and renewed drive in the midst of last decade’s upheaval.  

Tech titans are having difficulty keeping up with healthcare brands such as GSK, Sanofi and UnitedHealth Group, that use technology and innovation to solve a specific problem and have rocketed up the index ranking. Our research demonstrates that well perceived brands have a measurable competitive advantage, because more people want to buy from them, pay more and work for them. But the companies best positioned to survive and grow long term are not defined by their age, sector or tech fluency, but by their ability to consistently align the experiences they create with a clearly articulated corporate purpose.

Taking the index’s top spot is Disney, who has led the way in entertainment by adding to its portfolio and flexing its approach as times change. Disney excelled across key brand purpose attributes, including being ‘distinctive and different,’ ‘a thought leader’ and having ‘the credibility and authenticity to achieve its vision.’ Disney also scored highly on brand experience attributes including having ‘a great story,’ ‘a strong and engaging personality’ and ‘giving pleasure to customers.’

What our study revealed is that companies that not only articulate a purpose but also deliver on it are the brands with the most staying power. Successful future brands balance multiple data-points with human understanding to create overall, better brand experiences. And brand purpose must be more than window dressing, more than fancy words in corporate posters in conference rooms. This ultimately represents the defining corporate challenge.