Why We Did This

Prophet is in the business of helping organizations grow better brands and businesses. Our clients have often asked for our perspective on the value of the existing brand rankings. And while there are several other brand lists and rankings out there today, none speak directly to consumers to find out which brands are the most indispensable to their lives – the ones consumers simply cannot imagine living without. We created the BRI to help business and brand leaders measure the relevance of their brands, and provide them ways to improve it.

How were the included companies selected?

Companies from all industries that contribute materially to U.S. household spend were included in the study. Their contribution to household spend was sourced from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ February 2015 Report on Consumer Expenditures. Within each industry, the companies that were included achieved outsize business performance (MRY revenues and trailing 3-year revenue growth) within their respective industries. In some instances, smaller companies that have been driving change in these industries were also included given their significant traction with consumers.

What was the primary research objective?

To understand the principles that great brands execute against — in customers’ minds — in order to establish themselves as relentlessly relevant.

How many brands were rated?

400 brands were rated in total. Brands not included were those in the tobacco and firearms categories and companies engaged solely or primarily in business-to-business (B2B) categories.

What does it mean for a brand to be relevant?

At Prophet, we believe that the strongest brands are relentlessly relevant, and they do four things well – first, they’re customer obsessed. Everything they invest in, create, and bring to market is designed to meet important needs in peoples’ lives. Second, they’re pervasively innovative. They don’t rest on their laurels, even as industry leaders – they push the status quo, engage with customers in new and creative ways, and find new ways to address unmet needs. Third, they’re ruthlessly pragmatic. They make sure their products are available where and when customers need them, deliver consistent experiences, and just make life that much easier for people. And, finally, they’re distinctively inspired. They’ve made emotional connections, earned trust and often exist to fulfill a larger purpose.

To what extent does this build upon David Aaker’s IP?

To a significant extent. Of all the characteristics of a brand, the one that is necessary for its success is relevance. Brand “preference” and “differentiation” long ago ceased being central to the calculus of success because of the speed at which markets and customer needs change. Aaker’s core point, that brands have to create new subcategories and dominate them so no other alternatives are even considered, is central to the idea of relevance.