Bunnings, JB Hi-Fi dominate brand love Australian retail list

New BrandAsset Valuator survey globally into brand dependability, inspiration, aspiration and playfulness highlights Australian and global brands winning over consumers

Bunnings and JB Hi-Fi have come out trumps for being dependable, inspirational and aspirational in a new survey aimed at finding the most loved retail brands locally and globally.

In a list of 180 Australian retail brands evaluated using WPP’s BrandAsset Valuator, the two brands were ranked third and fourth respectively for their dependability, solidity and reliability, or what the study defined as ‘dependable love’.

The Global Most Loved Brands Retailers report assesses brands across four pillars of ‘brand love’: ‘Dependable love’, ‘Aspirational love’, ‘Inspirational love’ and ‘Spirited love’. Each is evaluated using brand equity markers including differentiation, relevance, esteem and knowledge.

JB Hi-Fi and Bunnings were also ranked fifth and sixth, respectively, for ‘Inspirational love’. And both brands came in fifth and eighth position for ‘Spirited love’.

Topping the Australian list of dependable brands were Officeworks and Woolworths, followed by Bunnings and JB Hi-Fi. Also making the top 10 were Coles (seventh), along with two QSR brands: Subway (ninth) and KFC (tenth).

On the inspirational front, Ikea topped the list of brands in Australia, followed by Amazon, Apple and eBay. The brand headlining the Australian ‘Spirited love’ list was EB Games, followed by Vans, Kmart and McDonalds.

By contrast, the top five aspirational brands locally were Mecca, Chanel, Adidas, Nike and Michael Hill.

“If you’re running a retail business, you might well ask ‘what’s love got to do with it?’ asked BAV Group chairman, David Roth. “Brand love reflects depth of emotional commitment, and a strong bond pays off not only today, but in the lifetime value of a customer. In fact, our research found the top 10 per cent of ‘most loved’ Australian brands are 55 per cent more likely to be trusted, 80 per cent more likely to be recommended to a friend and hold 33 per cent greater pricing power.”

By comparison, the list of most dependable brands in the US was led by Amazon, followed by Walmart, Chick-fil-A, The Home Depot and Levi’s. In the UK, Boots took the top spot, followed by Tesco, ASDA, UK Post Office and Aldi. China’s top five were Haidilao Hot Pot, JD.com, Li-Ning, Suning.com and Pizza Hut.

Leading the inspiration tally in the US was Amazon followed by Best Buy and Nike, while in the UK, the top three were Amazon, Ikea and Apple. In China, the most inspirational brands were VIP.com, Taobao.com and Haidilao Hot Pot.

For aspiration, Victoria’s Secret, Rolex and Calvin Klein took out the US top three, while it was Gucci, Tiffany & Co and Boss in the UK. China’s top three aspirational brands were Li-Ning, Chanel and Taobao.com.

For ‘Spirited love’, Hobby Lobby, Dairy Queen and Michael’s were the top three US brands, McDonalds, Moon Pig and GAME topped the UK ranks and Haidilao Hot Pot, Sam’s Club and Wanda Plaza were China’s highest ranked three brands.

VMLY&R commerce general manager, Ben Walker, noted the mark of a well-loved brand is one that is strongly connected with shoppers across different brand perspectives. He said he found it revealing Mecca Cosmetica was number one on the list of ‘Aspirational love’ retail brands.

“In the UK, Gucci was a more predictable winner, but in Australia the accessibility of Mecca Cosmetica found favour with shoppers,” said Walker. “Australian shoppers prefer their ‘aspirational’ retailers to be approachable. To prove it, in the same category, Michael Hill won out over Tiffany.”

Read more: Most trusted brands during COVID-19 lockdown revealed

Perhaps less surprising is Amazon’s dominant position overseas given the rise of online shopping through the pandemic. In the US, where the brand is most dominant, Amazon ranked first for both dependability and inspiration.

“Amazon is winning both as a brand you can count on – its logistics are superb – and one that shoppers find stimulating and inspiring,” Walker commented.

Roth also pointed to differences in the list of most-loved brands in China with those in other markets. Besides ecommerce brands from Alibaba (Tmall and Taobao) and JD.com, surprises in the rankings include Haidilao Hot Pot.

“It’s setting new standards for what an in-person retail experience can offer”, notes Roth. “Haidilao blends dining and theatre, from noodle twirling at the table to manicures for guests. And like Alibaba’s Hema Supermarket, robots and tech are used to streamline operations.”

In all, 12 countries were included in BAV’s survey including Australia. Locally, the team garnered responses from more than 14,500 consumers.

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