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10 Most Successful Brands: What Makes a Great Brand

December 05, 2023
10 Most Successful Brands: What Makes a Great Brand

Interbrand, a global consultancy firm, releases an annual “Top Brands” report  The companies that earned a place on this annual list encompass a range of industries, including technology, hospitality, automotive, e-commerce, and entertainment.

Despite these differences, these top brands have many characteristics in common that make them such successful names.

Top 10 Brands of 2023

These are the top ten brands of 2023:

  1. Apple
  2. Microsoft
  3. Amazon
  4. Google
  5. Samsung
  6. Toyota
  7. Mercedes-Benz
  8. Coca-Cola
  9. Nike
  10. BMW

Three key criteria must be met to appear on this annual list: financial performance, purchasing influence, and competitive strength. Let’s explore what it took (and takes) for these successful brands to meet these standards.

What Makes a Great Brand?

  While the Interbrand list is a fascinating read, it’s important to understand that successful brands are ranging across various sizes. These companies may take different approaches to product development, marketing, and brand strategies, but what do all successful brands manage to have in common?

9 Characteristics of Successful Brands

Nine characteristics answer the question of what makes a great brand:

1. Greatness over Growth

The brands on this year’s list may have experienced record-breaking growth, but growth alone is not what makes a great brand. Instead, growth is a positive result that takes place when brands make greatness their top priority. 

The same is true of profit. Top brands focus on building powerful, engaging stories that meet customers’ needs; everything else is a by-product of those efforts. 

2. Social Media Savvy

Customers are engaging with brands via social media at ever-increasing rates. It’s not uncommon for prospective customers to contact brands via their social channels, bypassing their web pages entirely. Successful brands have recognized this, taking steps to integrate social media into their marketing and customer service strategies. 

As they’ve accomplished this, they’ve also enjoyed the added benefit of leveraging a cost-effective way to engage a target market that allows them to use storytelling and other elements to delight and entertain.

Successful brands also incorporate monitoring and analytics in their social media strategies, allowing them to gain helpful insights into these interactions and better understand customers’ needs, allowing brands to continually improve their marketing strategies to earn more leads and foster brand loyalty.

3. A Focus on a Primary Customer Promise

So what makes a great brand? One undeniable element that made so many of this year’s most successful brands stand above their competitors is the ability to communicate and fulfill a key promise to their customers.

For example, this year’s number one brand — Apple — promises user privacy and delivers on that consistently. Similarly, Amazon offers the widest selection of products while fulfilling its promises of removing friction from the purchasing process.

These promises give brands a strong sense of purpose and become that “special thing” that increases the brands’ recognition and recall among audiences of millions.

A brand promise will address:

  • What your company stands for
  • What you believe in
  • Your vision of how it will impact the world

Create a written statement that clearly articulates your brand promise and communicates that message across your organization as well as your marketing.

4. The Ability to Communicate Authenticity and Earn Trust

Any brand can make promises via marketing, but the best deliver on those promises and earn the trust of their customers as well as the community. Consider Amazon again, with its two-day shipping promise. 

At the time of its initial rollout, it seemed like an impossible feat, but the company delivered, building a deep sense of trust in the brand’s consumers while also creating a strong sense of authenticity. What they did aligned with what they promised. 

Brands also develop authenticity when they offer genuine and consistent experiences at every touchpoint.

5. A Clearly Articulated Business Model

All strong brands understand what they are and what they have to deliver. They start with a solid business model as a foundation, then create processes and standards to achieve that, which is how this year’s top brands have stood out in industries where competition is intense and where their target audiences know they have plenty of choices.

These powerful brands started developing their business models by focusing on their target audiences. They’ve learned their needs, values, and pain points. From there, they curated innovative products and cutting-edge services to meet those needs. Once they established strong products and services, they created a unique brand identity with a clear value proposition.

Competition in business is fierce and permeates through virtually every industry. Without a clearly articulated business model, process innovation, and strong branding, businesses will struggle to gain a foothold. 

However, they must also recognize that this is an ongoing process. A business model should be treated as a living entity that must be constantly refined and adjusted to meet evolving customer needs.

6. Brand Consistency and Delivery of Promise

Brand managers can only achieve long-term brand identity awareness by using a prominent and consistent approach. Brand consistency fosters understanding and recognition of the brand wherever it sells its products or services.

A successful brand’s logo and marketing artwork are often prominently displayed and consistently placed on a particular section of business merchandise. Brands know the importance of making their logo the centerpiece of their ads and product promotions.

Successful brands will always ensure that their advertising campaigns are centered on the logo and slogan of the business. A prominent business logo allows your target audience to determine your brand immediately as it stands out from all other brands that offer similar products.

Strong brands are consistent in the placement of their logos and how they serve their customers. When a brand is consistent, customers put more confidence in it, being more willing to do business wherever that brand is available.

This year’s top brands also understand that this consistency must be prioritized across the organization. They know that proper management of digital assets is key to ensuring any customer public-facing communication will contain the appropriate branding elements, which includes, but isn’t limited to, advertising materials.

7. Prioritizing Visual Branding

All aspects of branding are essential when building a successful brand, but there is no doubt that the role of visual branding must be given top priority. Humans process visual information quickly and retain it longer. In other words, a brand that creates strong visual associations is going to experience more brand recall and improved recognition.

Consider Shake Shack’s logo and tagline as an excellent example of this. They are simple and memorable, reminding customers that the company produces food that is worth standing and waiting for. 

Their logo’s sophisticated design contributes a lot to the company’s success with its iconic graphics, making it one of the most recognizable brands. Attention-grabbing graphics work wonders toward increasing brand recognition and awareness.

8. Customer Relationship Building

It’s easy to see why so many brands prioritize sales. By increasing sales, they generate more revenue and generate short-term results that are quite attractive. However, by selling to their customers, they miss the opportunity to build relationships with them. Interactions feel transactional, and sales come at the expense of earning customer loyalty.

As mentioned above, social media has emerged as a great tool for building customer relationships, but that’s just one option. Brands can also connect with customers by:

  • Responding to reviews
  • Holding workshops
  • Offering Q&A sessions

Never underestimate the power of building a brand community. Both Jeep and Harley-Davidson have established enormous, loyal communities around their products.

9. Agility

This year’s top ten businesses list includes several tech companies that have established profitability and a strong presence in a business ecosystem where change is virtually non-stop. They can do this because they have built agility into their business models.

Agility refers to the ability to pivot quickly in the face of change or new challenges, including new competitors, regulatory changes, and/or customer demands. Agility empowers brands to bring new products to market, develop innovative services, and elevate the customer experience.

All Strong Brands Have a Common Theme

Business success can be distilled down to something quite simple: The strongest, longest-lasting brands are better than others at requiring and retaining customers. Each may have its own approach, but every one of them has these core themes in common:

  • Values long-term relationships over short-term sales
  • Develops strong branding that is consistent and visually compelling
  • Understands the value of meeting customers’ emotional needs
  • Innovates to better serve their audience

By doing these things, these companies are able to differentiate themselves from competitors, build engaged workforces, and earn customer loyalty. 

To learn more about the best ways to grow your brand, turn to the team at MarcomCentral. Reach out today to learn more.