Best Brands – the industry event that has developed into the most important on the calendar since its inception in 2004 – celebrated the top brands in Germany for the 15th time on 21 February. The winning brands were identified in the course of a representative GfK study. They were then honoured at a festive gala event in Munich's Bayerischer Hof hotel, which hosted the event again for 2018. Awards were presented in the categories Best Corporate Brand, Best Product Brand and Best Growth Brand as well as in this year's special Best Millennials' Brand category. The Best Corporate Brand has been analysed regularly at the international level since 2012, such that in 2018 the Best Corporate Brand in Europe was awarded. This year the Best Product Brand of the last 15 Years was celebrated as well.
The honours this year went to Ikea, Nivea and Lay‘s. Nike received top honours at the festive gala in the special category Best Millennials‘ Brand.
Former Chancellor and Europe expert, Gerhard Schröder, opened the gala in the ballroom of the Bayerischer Hof hotel with an enthusiastic keynote speech on Europe as a brand. Klaas Heufer-Umlauf was again the moderator of the event this year. The audience was also impressed with the entertainment for the evening: the music of actress and singer Yvonne Catterfeld set the perfect mood in the ballroom.
Best Brands 2018: The top 10
The growing success of Best Brands over the years is a result of the professional collaboration between all the partners involved: GfK, ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE, WirtschaftsWoche, Markenverband, DIE ZEIT, the audio marketing provider RMS and the Serviceplan Group.
Florian Haller, CEO of the Serviceplan Group, says: “In an increasingly faster-paced and digital world, brands become more important. They give consumers security and provide a source of orientation. This also makes our ranking more relevant – for 15 years now! It is not only the ranking, but also the event itself that has become a flagship event in our industry. Our guests, some of whom have been with us for many years, not only meet exciting speakers and experience a great show, but are also able to meet and network with colleagues from the industry during the gala.”
Thomas Wagner, CEO of SevenOne Media, marketer for ProSiebenSat.1: “This year again demonstrates how ‘best brands’ can be defined: they combine strong emotional connection with a high degree of recognition – that can also be achieved through the power of television. As partners, we celebrate these major brands at the Best Brands Gala in a fitting manner!”
Michael Müller, Regional General Manager Central Europe at GfK: “Best Brands awards brands that have been able to establish a long-term, emotional relationship with consumers. This year, the special category Best Millennials’ Brand very impressively shows what successful brands will represent in the future. They succeed in appealing to the individual interests of millennials and at the same time satisfying the desire for community. This includes smart social media design that emphasises the emotional community experience and still conveys innovative coolness.”
Frank Dopheide, Managing Director of Handelsblatt Media Group: “Schumpeter's model of 'creative destruction' has taken hold of every industry. From A for automobile to Z for zebra – no stone has been left unturned. Cheers to those who have a trusted brand as a foundation – a competitive advantage that cannot be beaten. It is impressive how established brands have succeeded in remaining up-to-date and popular.”
Franz-Peter Falke, President of Markenverband e.V.: “For 15 years, the Best Brands Awards have been recognising the crème de la crème of the large brand family every year and have positioned themselves as the brand ranking with the highest credibility from the very beginning. This is because the perception of brand strength among thousands of consumers surveyed determines the result. And this is exactly what makes the award so unique and attractive to this day”.
Dr Rainer Esser, Managing Director of the ZEIT Publishing Group: “Strong brands are the result of hard work. They tell stories, they move us, create trust and bring us joy. With the Best Brands Award this achievement is given the attention it deserves.”
Matthias Wahl, Management Spokesman of RMS Radio Marketing Service: “The best that can happen to a brand is to be heard and to be celebrated. This is all the more important in the age of digitalisation, when customers perceive products completely differently as a function of their use of media. When brands succeed in addressing customers at a personal level, positively influencing customer perception and turning this into commercial success, they deserve special recognition. For this reason, we are pleased to be part of this important event as partners. We congratulate Best Brands 2018.”
The winners in 2018
Awards were presented in the Best Product Brand, Best Growth Brand and Best Corporate Brand categories as well as in this year's special Best Millennials’ Brand categories. Best Corporate Brand in Europe has been evaluated since 2016, with the winner in this category being awarded for the second time in 2018. This year, there was also a special award. As part of the 15 Years of Best Brands celebration, Nivea was awarded Best Product Brand in 15 Years.
Ikea took top honours in the Best International Corporate Brand in Europe category this year for the first time. This category measures the reputation of international companies in Germany, the UK, Italy, France and Spain. Adidas and BMW took places behind the furniture manufacturer.
Claudia Willvonseder, CMO of the Ikea Group: “At Ikea, we are delighted to receive the Best Corporate Brand in Europe award. We are a values-based company and a brand that focuses on the many people we serve. The fact that the prize arose from a democratic, consumer-oriented process makes it a great confirmation of our work. It continues to motivate us to develop marketing and commitment that add value to the company and use the unique purpose of Ikea to appropriately position it in the digital age.”
The Best Product Brand in 2018 is Nivea. Nivea has been represented in the ranking in this category every year since the start and has achieved first place for the fourth time.
The brand strength of each brand assessed was measured by means of revenue- and attitude-based criteria: The Share of Market dimension includes market share, buyer loyalty or brand loyalty and the price premium. The Share of Soul dimension encompasses awareness of the product brand, its cross-selling potential as well as brand relationship and brand experience. Nivea is followed by Bosch (construction and DIY products) in second place and Coca-Cola, the previous year’s winner, in third place.
Iain Holding, General Manager of Nivea Germany/Switzerland says: “The Nivea team is extremely honoured to receive two Best Brands Awards this year – the Best Product Brand prize as well as the Best Product Brand of 15 Years award. This success confirms the strong emotional relationship that people have had with the iconic Nivea brand for more than 100 years. The needs of our consumers will always be at the heart of the work of Nivea’s staff in the future, too, as trust can only be generated and grow when a brand listens to its consumers. Our consumers’ trust in Nivea is our greatest asset, and each Nivea team member works tirelessly and passionately to live up to this claim anew – every day”.
Lay‘s received the Best Growth Brand award for the first time. The Best Growth Brand recognises the strongest change in market share in terms of value in relation to the change in the brand attractiveness of the respective brand compared to the previous period. The study design is based on that of the Best Product Brand. The winner Lay‘s was followed by Airbnb and Nintendo.
Tom Albold, Managing Director of PepsiCo Germany, Austria, Switzerland is delighted: “We are extremely proud to have been awarded as a growth brand! We are pleased that the investments in the brand are paying off and that we are driving category growth – be it through our consumer and retailer activations or through our innovations geared to the consumer. In the coming year, we'll have more in store. Consumers and the retail sector can look forward to fantastic initiatives!”
The winners of this year’s special Best Millennials’ Brand category were Nike followed by Sony PlayStation and Netflix. In this category, 300 leading brands were evaluated based on the Best Product Brand category and other millennials-related product categories. The brand strength of each brand assessed was measured in three dimensions by means of an online survey and social media intelligence: The Equity Potential dimension (by means of a survey) comprised the Brand Relationship and Brand Experiences categories. The Assets dimension (by means of a survey) comprises the Coolness and Innovation categories and the Connectivity dimension (surveyed by means of social media data) comprises the Buzz, Interactivity and Commitment categories.
Ulrike Köhler, Nike DACH Managing Director: “Our focus is on the relationship with our consumers. We are constantly working to optimise the brand experience for our consumers and connect across all channels. The image of a brand today is mainly shaped by consumers themselves – on Instagram, WhatsApp, in local communities and on the street. We are extremely pleased to have received this award. It motivates us to continue focusing on the young target group and their needs. There is no finish line!”