The futility of brand of the year awards

Andy - 19 th February 2016

I love the annual parade of ‘best of the year’ awards. I go to Pitchfork’s Top 100 to find out about the music I’ve missed in the last 12 months, and every website on the net seems to have a best TV series list which I binge on over the Christmas break.

So, I love best of the year lists. But when it comes to brand of the year awards, they just couldn't be more irrelevant. 

The thing that each and every one of them misses is the business strategy of the brand. Instead, a series of irrelevant assessment criteria are created - they have to be generic in order to get enough brands to compare - and a whole host of brands, none of whom actually want to be famous for these metrics, are assessed against them.

Take the YouGov brand of the year. At first I was delighted to see that Aldi and Lidl were headlined. We've long fought the corner of these brands as they deliver a single-minded proposition with tremendous consistency. However, this time they were reported as being on the up because of “social media buzz”. Whilst a good indication that the brand is doing something right, the problem is that we don't know what it's doing right. Is it the brilliant product range that is exciting the customer?  Is it the wow pricing? Is it the simplicity of the in-store processes? Or is it their tongue in cheek communications? 

The problem applies throughout this survey, and others like it. 

So, for Christmas 2016, could we please have some brand of the year surveys that actually consider what each of the brands in question wants to achieve?  Maybe we could call it ‘The Most Aligned Brands of 2016’ award. We’ll be measuring them throughout the year with the Brand Alignment Monitor, so when the Christmas decorations appear in 2016, look out for our alternative brand of the year awards. 

Andy is a Director at Brand Vista, with over 15 years experience in advertising and innovation consultancies. He’s happiest when operationalising brands, creating ideas that excite staff, delight customers and bring the brand to life throughout the customer experience. 
Find out more about Andy