Once again, it’s the time of the year when we publish our annual summary, covering what people enjoyed reading on BrandStruck, which of our headlines turned out to be the most attention-grabbing, what passed by somewhat unnoticed and how our business performed in general.
Along with an analysis of what worked on BrandStruck and what didn’t, we also put together a top five list of the decisions made by big and famous brands this year which surprised us the most.
To read our summary from last year, click here.
It seems a given now that our articles gain popularity with time. Usually, they receive the most page views 12 months or more after they were written. The main reason for this is that it simply takes time for search engines to discover and index new content.
Similar to 2018, the three most read blog posts in 2019 were written in previous years. The only exception is our number one article, which was first published in 2017 but updated in 2019 to ensure its consistency with the latest Interbrand Best Global Brands ranking. In short, we included Chanel on the list of the most valuable luxury fashion brands as the company disclosed its annual financial results for the first time in 108 years, enabling its brand value to be calculated by Interbrand.
Here’s our top three list:
2. Brand Architecture Part 2: The difference between sub-brands and endorsed brands (this is the most popular blog post we have ever written)
Regarding articles written in 2019, the top two pieces are the revised versions of the posts published in previous years.
We have already mentioned the changes in the story covering the most valuable luxury fashion brands in the previous paragraph.
The second updated article addressed the most valuable media brands, in which we had to take into account the fact that MTV didn’t make it onto the list of the 100 most valuable brands, that Spotify debuted as the fourth most valuable media brand and that Netflix grew by a massive 45%, thus becoming the second biggest media brand, overtaking Discovery.
Our five most read articles written in 2019 were:
We measure the “catchiness” of our headlines by analysing the click-through rate of our newsletter
Below is a list of our most clickable titles.
Last year our list of the least attention-grabbing headlines included what we believed to be
the best researched pieces we had written that year.
This year, the leitmotif seems to be different – our newsletter subscribers didn’t seem to be interested in reading about different mistakes which could seriously sabotage their business.
Were these headlines simply too negative?
Our list of the most popular brand case studies primarily reflects how easily each of them could be discovered on Google and how popular a particular search was. To make sure that we rank highly on the most popular searches, we always have three brand strategy case studies free to read and download by everyone (currently Adidas, Gucci and Facebook) and replace them every few months.
14. Burger King
13. Christian Dior
10. National Geographic
7. Louis Vuitton
4. Ben & Jerry’s
2019 was another good year for BrandStruck. We are still far from being a big business, but our website KPIs (traffic, page views etc.) have increased almost 90% year on year and more than 400% compared to 2017. The number of subscriptions has grown more than threefold vs. 2018.
In 2019, our new paying subscribers represented 35 countries, with the majority coming from the US and the UK, followed by China and the Netherlands. Most of our traffic was generated by users, in decreasing order, from the US, the UK, India, Australia and Canada.
This year, we decided to place a much stronger emphasis on updating our existing case studies, rather than adding new analyses (although we still add new brands every month), to make sure that our reports always reflect the current reality, not the past. We also decreased the frequency of our newsletter to once a month to avoid overwhelming our subscribers with too many emails.
The area where we wish we had performed better this year concerned the sales of our corporate packages. We believe that our corporate offer (70 accounts for GBP 2,490 per year, which equates to less than GBP 36 per year per user) represents amazing value for bigger companies looking for their entire brand, marketing and/or creative teams to learn more about brand strategy and appreciate the role a strong brand plays in generating commercial results. Unfortunately, we haven’t managed to articulate the benefits of this offer as effectively as we wanted.
The last part of this 2019 summary refers to what has surprised us this year, with regard to what big brands have or have not done in terms of their brand strategy and its implementation.
5. In 2019, for the first time in its history, Gillette launched a campaign which wasn’t focused on the quality or technological advancements of its products and had an entirely different tone than the brand’s previous communications. The advert called “The Best Men Can Be” was Gillette’s attempt to run a purpose-driven initiative designed to reduce so called “toxic masculinity”. Its objective was to remind men how important it is to not use “boys will be boys” type of excuses and to instead, hold other men accountable. The campaign proved highly controversial. On the one hand, it went viral and gave Gillette unprecedented media exposure. On the other hand, however, some of the brand’s target audience found it offensive as it felt accusatory rather than empowering.
4. In the UK, Carlsberg launched a highly unusual campaign, in which it admitted that it was “probably not the best beer in the world” and informed its consumers about an improved product formula of the flagship Carlsberg brand, Carlsberg Pilsner (“rebrewed from head to hop”). The campaign has created a lot of buzz and short-term sales increased, but we are still waiting to see whether there will be any long-term impact on sales.
Our opinion on this move? We appreciate the chutzpah of the Carlsberg team, but we probably wouldn’t have taken the risk of offending the people who actually liked the old Carlsberg.
3. A few years ago, GoPro made a few bad decisions. In particular, the attempt to transform the camera business into a media company almost turned out to be catastrophic. GoPro understood this and changed course. Together with the reversal of this approach, the company also decided to return to its previous targeting strategy by exclusively focusing on the niche of those who practise various types of extreme sports.
In our opinion, GoPro will find it difficult to grow if it doesn’t widen its market appeal, as a big part of its narrowly defined target audience already owns GoPro products and sees little incentive in upgrading to newer models – indeed, older-generation products are still of satisfactory quality. Repositioning itself as a media company – no; finding a wider audience – yes.
2. The meatiest of all fast food chains, Burger King understood what other fast food brands still failed to comprehend – the world is changing and more and more people will be eating significantly less or no meat. The launch of the Impossible Whopper was one of the most successful product launches in Burger King’s history. We are waiting for other brands to follow in the company’s footsteps.
1. Kudos to Disney for the epic launch of Disney+, which will change the media landscape forever: great brand architecture choice, no unnecessary complications in the naming strategy, a clear proposition and another lesson from the most valuable media company that a strong brand makes all the difference. There were 10 million subscribers on the first day. Disney magic struck once more.
Any comments or questions, let us know!
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Magda Adamska is the founder of BrandStruck.
BrandStruck is the only online database of brand strategy case studies.
This is a tool that is dedicated to brand and marketing professionals, allowing them to better understand the positioning of the world’s most admired brands, the similarities and differences between them and to learn more about certain categories.