The Marketing Society Brand of the Year 2010 award in association with Marketing and ITV
VOTE FOR YOUR FAVOURITE BRAND AT www.annualdinner2010.com/vote
A relentless focus on innovation led to Apple breaking the mould once again this year with the launch of its iPad tablet computer. This was closely followed by the unveiling of the iPhone 4, which also flew off the shelves, and despite the device suffering from a few 'reception' issues, it still helped boost the company's already weighty share price.
Aimed at 16- to 34-year-olds, online fashion and beauty retailer Asos attracts 9m unique visitors a month. It has just reported second-quarter sales up 47% to £70m, with international sales soaring 128% as UK sales grew 21%. It believes international sales will overtake those in the UK by 2011. Asos is also on the AIM Company of the Year shortlist.
The average Brit can't claim an extensive German vocabulary, but 'vorsprung durch technik' (progress through technology) is a familiar phrase to many. Audi has a reputation for quality cars and in recent years has matched that standard in its marketing. The marque's loyalty rate has risen steadily in 2010 and it is consistently recognised for its engineering excellence.
With its rebrand from Norwich Union firmly behind it, Aviva is focusing on solidifying itself in the eyes of consumers. Having replaced Guinness as the £20m sponsor of Premiership rugby, Aviva recently embarked on its first global brand campaign. The initiative offers customers five minutes of fame by projecting their pictures on landmark buildings around the world.
'Your home is your world. Count on British Gas to look after it.' This was the positioning British Gas adopted in 2008, and one of the nation's most-recognised energy suppliers reaped the rewards in 2010 by adding 500,000 customers to its books. 'Generation Green', a drive to educate kids on environmental issues, also boosted the brand's image.
When it comes to great British brands, Hovis always ranks near the top and in 2010 it enjoyed one of its best years for a long time. Hovis has rediscovered its distinctive identity through the return of the 'boy on the bike' ad to television. Importantly, sales are up and the gap between Hovis and Warburtons, which currently enjoys a bigger market share, is closing.
Innocent returned to our screens this year, after a period of instability, to push its Veg Pots. These fit in with the brand's ethics by providing three of the recommended five daily portions of vegetables. Selling a majority stake to Coca-Cola had sceptics circling, but Innocent's open approach means it nailed a great deal but also kept its much-loved status.
Those who went to a music festival this summer will almost certainly be aware of Jagermeister, which is performing phenomenally strongly. Clever experiential marketing did wonders, helping the brand achieve 100% year-on-year growth in 2009, and it looks as if that success will be repeated in 2010. Never has a German herbal drink been so popular.
Over the past year John Lewis' profits have risen once more and its reputation for value has increased through its 'never knowingly undersold' proposition, which it reinstated as the focus of its marketing. The retailer is often referred to as the benchmark for customer service, and so widely loved that the BBC even made a documentary series about it.
Lego is a legacy brand that, despite being 70 years old, continues to reinvent itself with products capable of engaging children in the face of competition from games consoles and other multimedia devices. Lego, too, has embraced new technology in 2010, with augmented reality kiosks showing potential buyers what its products will look like when constructed.
95.8 CAPITAL FM
Since Global Radio acquired 95.8 Capital FM in 2008, the brand has soared. A simple proposition - 'London's No.1 hit music station' - has resonated with listeners, and the success has been so great that Global Radio is now taking the brand nationwide. From January 2011, music fans from Glasgow to Southampton will be able to tune in.
Making government campaigns compelling is no easy task, but with Change4Life the Department of Health hit the nail on the head. Amid predictions that 90% of adults will be overweight by 2050, it created an anti-obesity movement under the Change4Life banner. More than 1m families claim to have changed something in their lives as a direct result of it.
In 2010 Costa's popularity among coffee fans rocketed, with the brand experiencing strong sales growth while rivals faltered. Through the 'We make it better' campaign it mounted a direct challenge to Starbucks; its first TV ad, launched last month, hammered home its premium positioning. Costa has also expanded its network of barista training academies.
O2 entered fresh territory with giffgaff. The 'people-powered network', which gives customers free calls and texts in return for assistance with online technical support or marketing, is a new breed of business for the web 2.0 generation. Its cut-though digital campaign, begun a year ago, has become a textbook case study for a modern brand launch.
Nike's 'Write the future' TV ad, starring worldfamous footballers, arguably trumped official sponsor Adidas as the brand most consumers associated with this summer's World Cup. It also pushed boundaries with projects such as the Nike GRID running competition, using London phone boxes to track participants' progress at Nike-branded locations.
Credit must go to Old Spice for creating one of 2010's most original and talked-about ad campaigns. The hilarious 'The man your man could smell like' TV spots, and the hundreds of personalised video messages featuring the 'Old Spice guy' that followed, made consumers view the product in a new light and redefined the concept of social branding in the process.
This has been the most significant year in Twitter's short history. The microblog's growth continues unabated and it sailed past the 20bn tweet milestone in July. In the past few months Twitter has unveiled its long-awaited commercial model and rolled out the most extensive relaunch of its site. Love it or loathe it, Twitter looks like it is here to stay.
Essentials, Waitrose's budget range, was a masterstroke, and its price-matching campaign has helped make the upmarket chain more accessible. Yet using Heston Blumenthal and Delia Smith has ensured that Waitrose continues to stand for quality. Their recipe ads were a true innovation and helped the well-respected brand increase its popularity even further.
In motion-controlled console add-on Kinect, XBox has one of 2010's most keenly awaited launches, to the extent that retailers sold out on pre-orders alone. This follows success for the XBox console, which has consistently outsold the Nintendo Wii and PlayStation 3. In addition, the huge success of the Halo series of video games continued with Halo Reach.
This article was first published on marketingmagazine.co.uk