WHAT MAKES A BRAND A SUPER BRAND?
I recently came across a post by a LinkedIn user, Lynette Ntuli, containing the image (Brand Leader Board) above. In the post she writes that the world’s 100 most valuable brands are worth a staggering $2.15 trillion in 2018, and that Six (6) of the top ten (10) brands are in the Technology space, followed by Beverages, Leisure, Automotive and Telecoms brands. She then goes further to ask LinkedIn users to contribute to her post by responding to the following:
- what makes a super brand; and
- which African brands can and will compete on this leader board in the next decade.
I started to wonder and took keen interest on the topic, as no African brands were represented on the leader board.
What makes a super brand?
Branding is all about reputation. It is the widespread belief that a brand has particular or superior characteristics. Over the years the super brands listed above have defined, built and refined their brands.
Looking at the two most valuable brands (Apple and Google), it is quite clear that they have over the years conducted themselves admirably differently and as a result revolutionised the digital economy.
Apple and Google
When Apple entered the technology market it redefined the market bringing in never seen before technologies with the introduction of the iPod, iPhone and iPad (continuously innovating). Over the years apple has been consistent in building and redefining its brand – building brand loyalty and making their customers feel that just by purchasing an
Apple device they become a part of something bigger. But it was the subsequent launch of the App Store that super-charged the iPhone’s growth and created a whole new branch of economic activity – creating a whole new digital economy. Google has been consistent, living up to its Massive Transformative Purpose of “organising the world’s information.” Google is, by far, the global leading search engine, accounting for about 87 percent of the market share as of December 2017. While Apple redefined the mobility landscape, it didn’t necessarily become accessible to everyone – especially not in the emerging markets where the cost of an iPhone itself becomes prohibitive. It was left to Google to service this market. Google revolutionised a mobility-driven digital economy in emerging markets by introducing Google Play store for android devices.
These two brands continue to be leaders in the technological revolution – which has resulted in massive economic disruption and both companies are extremely innovative. Both companies’ willingness to boldly go where no man has gone before and invent larger than life products has contributed to their superior brand status.
Which African Brand will be able to Compete on this Leader board in the next decade?
Discovery and its Network
Discovery Health is by far the biggest medical aid scheme in South Africa and tends to dominate the industry. Discovery is an extremely innovative company and introduced a number of new concepts to the industry, including the introduction of Discovery Vitality. Discovery revolutionised the health insurance industry in South Africa with their Vitality rewards offering. The Vitality Programme has enabled Discovery to expand Geographically. Driven by constant innovation over the years, Discovery has created a multifaceted, integrated financial services organisation and expanded their original promise to include enhancing and protecting lives – thereby building brand trust and loyalty. Like Apple, by being a part of the Discovery network, users feel as though they are a part of something bigger.
Discovery Health is being increasingly criticised for its market dominance, thereby insinuating that there is insufficient competition in the space. The truth of the matter is that Discovery is dominant because it is admirably different, it has redefined how South Africans perceive medical aid scheme by digitising, prioritising and rewarding preventive healthcare. Through the use of digital platforms and data analytics, Discovery has been able to surpass client expectations. Discovery Insure’s Smartphone-enabled DQ-Track, advanced telematics technology, was a game-changer in the world of motor insurance. By using this technology, Discovery was able to offer its clients the very best safety features, as well as measure their driving, and reward them for driving well.
Today Discovery is worth a staggering US$7B – it’s a long way to Apple’s US$182B value – judging by the way the company keeps innovating and growing it is certainly on its way to becoming a super brand. The company has all the makings of a super brand: –
- It has disrupted the health insurance industry with its Vitality programme which has allowed the company to expand geographically, and because Vitality is an additive model it has allowed the company to onboard other dimensions (motor insurance and life insurance) and other health insure companies have struggled to replicate this model; and lastly
- It continues to break into unchartered territories for its brand – Discovery has presence in the United Kingdom, United States and China and has recently announced the introduction of the first Vitality-linked insurance offering in Japan, in partnership with Sumitomo Life.
Discovery’s ability to continue to use innovation to disrupt markets and create value – supports the notion that it will one day represent Africa by competing on the leader board above.