BRUSSELS, BELGIUM — For the seventh consecutive year, the Best Brands Awards have recognised Belgium’s favourite brands in 21 different business sectors. This ranking was unveiled on 10th March at a gala event in Brussels celebrating the favourite brands of Belgians, which has become a not-to-be-missed event for marketing and communication professionals.
Launched in Munich in 2004 by the Serviceplan Group communication agency and the GfK market research agency before expanding to other countries, the Best Brands Awards are today considered to be THE barometer of brand performance.
Indeed, it is not the subjective opinion of a jury of professionals that dictates the choice of winners, but consumers themselves, based on two criteria: Share of Wallet, or economic success of a brand (market share, price premium or consumer first choice) and Share of Soul, or the attractiveness of the brand for consumers (brand awareness, brand image, experience, customer relationship and the potential for cross-selling).
In Belgium, the ranking by Best Brands is based on an online survey carried out by GfK among 5,000 consumers representative of the national population. For this 7th edition, some 350 brands from 21 business sectors were evaluated and a new category made an appearance in the ranking: Best Hybrid Brands.
COVID-19 HAS CHANGED OUR CONSUMPTION PATTERNS
The health crisis we have been experiencing for two years has permanently changed consumer behaviour. Our purchases are increasingly focused on our basic needs, we buy more consciously, more locally, and the successive lockdowns have boosted e-commerce, with no possibility of going back.
That is why, this year, Serviceplan and GfK looked at a new trend: hybridity. A hybrid brand is a brand that successfully combines the virtual and real worlds by having, on the one hand, an effective touchpoints strategy (online and offline reach, the balance between online and offline activity, and quality of online and offline contacts) and, on the other hand, a relevant content strategy with a personalised seamless experience.
The top 3 in this Best Hybrid Brand category is made up of Samsung, Colruyt and Coca-Cola.
A GENERAL RANKING WITH A FEW BIG SURPRISES
The names of all the winners were revealed during the Best Brands Awards gala event, which took place at Docks Dome on 10 March, in the presence of guests from the world of business, advertising and media, and which was broadcast live on social media:
· Aveve – Best Pet & Hobby Retail Brand
· Belfius – Best Financial Services Brand
· BMW – Best Automotive Brand
· Bosch – Best Tools & Machines Brand
· Coca-Cola – Best Non-Alcoholic Drinks & Best Product Brand all sectors combined
· Colruyt – Best Retail Food Brand
· Danone – Best Food Brand
· Engie – Best Fuel & Energy Brand
· Ethias – Best Insurances Brand
· Gardena – Best Gardening Brand
· Hewlett-Packard – Best IT Brand
· Jupiler – Best Beer Brand
· Levis – Best Decoration & Renovation Brand
· Martini – Best Alcoholic Drinks Brand
· Bol.com – Best Retail Hi-Fi Electro Brand
· Miele – Best Major Domestic Appliances Brand
· Nivea – Best Beauty Products Brand
· Philips Best – Small Domestic Appliances Brand
· Royal Canin – Best Pet Food Brand
· Samsung – Best Consumer Electronics, Best Telecom and Best Hybrid Brand
A certain number of brands confirm their leadership from one year to the next: this is the case, for example, for Coca-Cola, Samsung and Colruyt, but also for Aveve, Danone, HP, Jupiler, Martini, Miele, Philips and Royal Canin. The first three brands listed also picked up the “Best Product Scores”, all sectors combined, and Coca-Cola once again increased its “Share of Soul” this year.
SOME REVERSALS OF POSITION
BMW dethroned Volkswagen from first place in the automotive category. BMW has increased its “Share of Soul” in particular by strengthening its brand awareness and creating a better experience with its consumers compared with last year.
Belfius climbs from fourth to first place in the financial services sector. Compared with last year, the bank has managed to build stronger relationships with its customers, resulting in a higher “Share of Soul.”
Another new winner this year: Ethias. The insurance company gained two places, moving from third to first. Although its “Share of Wallet” has decreased slightly compared to last year, Ethias has significantly increased its “Share of Soul”, in particular thanks to the improvement in the quality of experiences, which has enabled the company to establish a stronger relationship with its policyholders.
This year’s final new winner is Bol.com in the retail hi-fi electro category thanks to a higher “Share of Soul” than its competitors. Bol.com has become the number one hi-fi electro retailer of Belgians due to an exceptional brand experience.
RISE OF CERTAIN CHALLENGERS
Among the brands that made the greatest progress between 2021 and 2022, we can also highlight Hill’s in the pet food sector, Aperol, Axa and L’Oréal.
BUILDING AUTHENTIC RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE CONSUMER: THE KEY TO GROWTH
The results of the 2022 Best Brands Awards confirm it: more than ever, building strong brands means establishing lasting authentic relationships with consumers. Without such a vision, many brands are destined to disappear without any marketing campaign being able to save them. With the increasingly marked fragmentation of the media landscape and the growing rejection of irrelevant advertising, it is important to listen to consumers and offer them a coherent brand experience via all touchpoints with the brand. Of course, the Best Brands study offers a unique opportunity to gain an even better understanding of the current and future expectations of these increasingly demanding consumers.