Monday, July 21, 2008

The Superbrands thing [Sigh]

So plenty of coverage everywhere about the release of the latest Superbrands survey of top brands in the UK.

Google tops the list for the first time, ahead of Microsoft, Mercedes-Benz and the BBC.

In the travel-hospitality world, British Airways comes out on top (5th), with Hilton (20th), Eurostar (47th) and Virgin Atlantic (70th) all featuring in the top 100.

Thomas Cook has made a great PR play today with its top billing amongst tour operators and agencies in 72nd position, beating Kuoni (340th), Sandals (355th), Expedia (401st) and (476th).

And this is where all this branding stuff gets murky and silly.

It was only last year that Expedia was named the coolest travel brand in the, er, Superbrands' Coolbrands list.

So, one question:

Is it better to be a 'cool' brand or a 'super' brand?

Anyway, back to the Superbrands list. Well done to Thomas Cook (which, according to marketing boss Simon Carter is "head and shoulders" above its competitors). But is it REALLY 46 places behind the Royal Albert Hall, for example?

Take this one step further and you could also ask the following question:

If the Royal Albert Hall is 46 places ahead of Thomas Cook, how on earth can Thomas Cook be at least 428 places higher than Thomson, its biggest and bitter rival and, let's face it, a fairly big travel brand in its own right.

[Thomson actually doesn't figure anywhere in the list of 500 brands]

And THAT is the problem with branding lists - not that Thomson doesn't feature, but that the results are so random when all evidence to the contrary (sales, adspend, offline and online presence, word-of-mouth and history) indicates that a company such as Thomson should at least have a higher ranking than Maltesers, Stannah Stairlifts and Nicorette!

There are plenty of people who have strong views about Superbrands et al - the comments button is dying to hear from you...

* The Superbrands selection criteria can be found on its website.

Kevin May, editor, Travolution

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Richard Hartigan said...

Looking at the methodology there are some obvious ambiguities within the scoring process that make it hard to place any significant value on the results - but then I would say that!

It is interesting to note that search volume data, which is easily accessible via a number of online tools, does not appear to be taken into consideration. Surely the volume of people searching on particular brands should be taken into consideration when calculating "what customers want".

Travolution Blogger said...


we have a very interesting development on the superbrands story coming today, courtesy of thomson. :-)