Surprise omissions among strongest US brands?
Some well-known names were missing from a new survey of the strongest US retail brands including supermarket chain Kroger, and department stores Macy’s and Sears.
None of the three major retailers made a top 50 of the most valuable US brands compiled by retail consultancy Interbrand Design Forum.
Predictably, Walmart comes in first, with its brand value estimated at US$129.8bn, followed by Best Buy, at US$22bn, and the Home Depot at US$20.8bn.
Greg Silverman, SVP of strategy for Interbrand, said that Wal-mart did well, not just because of its size, but because: “It’s really proven itself to be a learning organization, taking cues from many of its competitors, including Target.”
Second-placed Best Buy, which sells many of the same brands as its rivals (including Walmart, Target and the now-kaput Circuit City) has successfully established itself as a rewarding, special place to shop, he says.
Silverman said that The Home Depot is highly ranked on the basis of scale rather than its level of innovation, and that its brand valuation as compared to sales, is much lower in percentage terms than Lowe’s.
Lowe’s brand is ranked in eighth place and valued at US$10.7bn.
Silverman says that the way consumers feel about a brand accounts for up to 80% of the decision to shop at a particular store. Brand plays a much lesser role in grocery-store selection, where chains score low in terms of customer loyalty and brand strength. (Whole Foods Market, ranked at number 47, is the only grocer in the Top 50.) Department stores also failed to register strongly due to their current financial problems.
The Interbrand ranking is calculated by combining how much retailers are likely to earn in the future with its valuation of brand strength.
The consultancy says that the traits the most valuable brands share are clarity of purpose, a relevant shopping experience, delivering on the brand’s promise, and staying consistent over time.
Silverman says consistency during an economic downturn can be a problem. Fourth-ranked Target, for example, which has a brand valuation of US$17.1bn, recently launched a TV campaign emphasizing the price of specific goods. This was the first time the company had marketed on cost, and a major departure from its image-driven advertising history.
Interbrand’s CEO, Lee Carpenter, said: “In a recession, brand is more important than ever, as retailers with a well-positioned brand have the opportunity to thrive and seize a bigger piece of the pie in terms of customers.
“Retailers are now realizing that brand transcends its traditional marketing role and should be adopted as an idea that runs through every part of the company. During a period of increased competition and lowered sales, brands that have successful propositions, such as Walmart, and offer an engaging shopping experience, like Best Buy, will come out on top.”
The full list of most Valuable US retail brands is:
1. Walmart 26. Bed Bath & Beyond
2. Best Buy 27. Abercrombie
3. The Home Depot 28. Old Navy
4. Target 29. American Eagle
5. CVS 30. Banana Republic
6. Dell Company 31. PetSmart
7. Walgreens 32. Netflix
8. Lowes 33. RadioShack
9. Sam’s Club 34. Urban Outfitters
10. Coach 35. Bath and Body Works
11. eBay 36. TJ Maxx
12. Staples 37. Marshalls
13. Nordstrom 38. Dick’s Sporting Goods
14. Amazon 39. J.Crew
15. Costco 40. Hollister
16. Victoria’s Secret 41. American Girl
17. Avon 42. Rent-A-Center
18. Gamestop 43. Big Lots
19. Gap 44. Barnes and Noble
20. Tiffany’s 45. Men’s Wearhouse
21. Polo Ralph Lauren 46. Tractor Supply
22. Kohl’s 47. Whole Foods Market
23. Sherwin Williams 48. Gymboree
24. J. C. Penney 49. Aeropostale
25. AutoZone 50. Anthropologie