Brand Equity's Most Exciting Brands 2013: How Adidas, Nokia and Blackberry have trounced market leaders

What's a survey without a few surprises? Among the curveballs thrown in the first edition of Most Exciting Brands are a few marketers who have given global (and sometimes even local) market leaders a trouncing

Adidas is the second most exciting brand, with Reebok (also owned by Adidas) at 8, beating the world's most popular sporting goods brand Nike at 33. In the mobile handset space, Nokia at 6 and BlackBerry at 10 are considered more exciting than Samsung Mobile that hangs shy of the Top 10 at 12 or the iPhone which is at a distant 35.

While Adidas declined to comment on the results, the brand has a long history of engagement with cricket particularly with Sachin Tendulkar, India's Most Admired Sportsperson.

Perhaps the greatest and most successful advertisement for the brand is seeing Tendulkar step out to bat for the last decade and a half wearing Adidas ST shoes, a co-branded range. Realising that backing just one sport — however iconic and mass popular — is unlikely to pay off in the long run, Adidas has increased its focus on football with training programmes from Chelsea FC and FC Bayern Munich. It recently sponsored Basscamp, an electronic music festival held in Mumbai and Delhi, making a serious entry into a more youth lifestyle oriented space.
In the case of Reebok, Steve McPherson, brand director, Reebok India says, "Our youth centric activities predominantly revolve around social media. We have a simple strategy 'Be Exciting. Not Intrusive.'" Some of these include 'Tone My Avatar' on Facebook which allows people to follow the lead of a virtual persona to burn a few calories. Reebok created what it claims is the first ever online flash mob by uploading a series of videos sent in by users demonstrating their flexibility via dance.

Besides it has started a series of branded gyms in Delhi and Mumbai and aims to enter all categories of fitness from the usual suspects like running and aerobics to the more exotic, like yoga and dance.

The survey comes as good news for both brands especially considering they found themselves in the midst of a controversy through mid 2012, the full impact of which continues to unfold. The global operations of Adidas alleged fraud that it estimates to be to the tune of Rs 870 crore. A recent audit report by E&Y indicates fake sales deliberately engineered to show exaggerated revenues for the Indian operations of Reebok.

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