WEDNESDAY 24 JAN 2018 11:34 AM


Once dismissed as the cheap, low-quality alternative to long-standing British food retailers such as Sainsburys, Tesco and Waitrose, the European supermarkets of Aldi and Lidl are now bywords for a good deal. Indeed, so much has their reputation and presence grown that both brands top YouGov’s annual BrandIndex Rankings for the fourth consecutive year.

Calculated according to a ‘Buzz’ score, global market research and data analytics firm YouGov asked respondents the opinions of selected brands, compiling findings based on positive or negative reactions to the company name. Measured over 52 weeks of 2017, the ‘Buzz’ scores are designed to provide the most accurate measure of brand reputation among UK participants. However, the positioning of Aldi and Lidl, with an average 'Buzz' score of +18.1 and +14.5 respectively, could indicate a reputational success driven by a lucrative festive period.  

“Both Aldi and Lidl continue to adapt their offering evolving from being seen the ‘cheap’ option to projecting themselves as offering both value and, increasingly, quality,” says Amelia Brophy, head of data products UK at YouGov. Yet, for Brophy, the climb of US-based tech brand Netflix over the UK’s much-loved BBC iPlayer service signals the biggest shift in consumer viewing needs and resultant corporate reputation. For the first time since 2014, BBC iPlayer has charted out of the top three to be replaced by US-based Netflix.

“Arguably the big story of this year’s top ten is the increasing power of Netflix,” says Brophy. “Jumping above BBC iPlayer is significant as it indicates how effective [Netflix] has been in delivering its ‘quality original content’ message to both new and existing viewers.”

The rest of the top ten is made up of internet advice forum MoneySavingExpert (+12.6), Yorkshire Tea (+11.0), IKEA (+10.5), retail brand Marks & Spencer (+10.2), PayPal (+10.1) and budget hotel chain Premier Inn (9.4). Says Brophy, the high standing of brands such as Premier Inn could be down to a move away from gimmicky advertising and celebrity endorsement. Instead, a return to traditional brand assets such as authenticity and reliability delivers what customers are increasingly demanding. “Premier Inn is a new entry into the top ten this year,” says Brophy. “The hotel chain has shifted away from its adverts featuring Lenny Henry and this seems to have benefitted them. In a crowded and competitive market, it has emphasised its balance between quality and value for money.”

Interestingly, where global brands such as Aldi and Lidl have grown in corporate reputation among customer, another global brand Apple does not enter the top ten. Although it makes an appearance in YouGov’s ‘Most improved’ list, perhaps down to its iPhone X launch, Brophy puts Apple’s continued fight down to negative press surrounding the tech giant’s products. This includes iPhones which, by Apple’s own admission, are designed to ensure users purchase new models on an almost annual basis. “While Apple has faced criticism over battery life and price of its products, the launch of a new phone model generated excitement,” she says.

Its cured meats aisle now colonised by the British middle class, Aldi and Lidl’s no-frills approach to supermarket retail may not earn them points for aesthetics. But in terms of sustainability, innovation and providing consistently high-quality products at reasonable prices, the German supermarkets’ reputations continue to proceed them.

Photo credit: Mike Mozart

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