Best Brands Italy

Regular followers of this column will already know that Serviceplan and GfK are developing the Best Brands project together in several countries. On 15 November 2017, it was Italy’s turn to unveil the winners of the best brands of the year.
Italy has selected the most influential brands in four categories, as Belgium will do in March 2018: Best Product Brand, Best Corporate Brand, Best Growth Brand and the special category for each country, Best Millennials Brand - in Belgium the preferred category is Best Digital Brand.
As in Belgium in 2016, Samsung was the winner of the Best Product Brand 2017 category in Italy. The South Korean brand, which was beaten by Barilla the previous year, heads the rankings released less than a month ago, followed by the Nutella brand spread, and another former prizewinner of the category in Belgium, Coca-Cola. The Top 10 brands once again include Mulino Bianco, a brand owned by Barilla, active in the cereal-based products sector. Lego, Dash, Findus, Rio Mare, Lavazza and Kinder are also on the list. Ferrero, an Italian group originally, therefore has two of its flagship brands in the Top 10 best products.
Can Ferrero now be considered THE top-performing Italian brand? The announcement of the nominees for the Best Corporate Brand category would seem to confirm this. Car brands such as Ferrari, BMW and Volkswagen are on the list next to Ferrero, as well as the brakes and accessories brand Brembo. P&G and Unilever also feature on the list, as do Barilla, Enel and Luxotica. Of these internationally recognised brands, Ferrero heads the ranking, ahead of two other Italian brands, Ferrari and Brembo. BMW and Barilla complete the Top 5.
The trend observed in the Best Corporate category is highly indicative of the strength of some Italian industries. Food and cars are historically the pillars of local culture and, as usual, people are very attached to their brands. The winners definitely stand out in terms of this emotional aspect, the customer relationship, while their many years in existence also give them an advantage on a rational level (share of market).
A third industry is however beginning to make its mark: new technology. Samsung beating Barilla to first place for the first award is evidence that this industry is becoming more and more important in consumers’ minds. The results of the Best Growth Brand confirm this trend. Of the ten brands selected, despite the presence of a number of food brands and Fiat, Huawei is ranked first, before Lenovo.
Best Growth Brand is a category rewarding the brand that has made the most progress during the year. This trend is measured from data collected for the Best Product Brand category and based both on the rational (share of wallet) and emotional (share of soul) aspects.
In the case of Huawei, its development in terms of market share has been dominant. It has outstripped Apple to become the second best-selling smartphone brand in Italy.
In Italy, it is also interesting to examine which brands are preferred by the younger generations. The first thing we note is the low presence of food brands: only Kinder and Mulino Bianco make another appearance in the 10 nominated brands. This is enough however, as the latter is in first place, winning the Best Millennials Brand award.
The other brands present are mostly from the sport and fashion sectors. Of this new generation, Nike (2nd), Adidas (7th) and Intimissimi (8th) are the most notable brands. Is this what the Italian market will look like in the future? It’s difficult to say for now. The results could mainly reflect the concerns of consumers in that age group.
Nevertheless it would be interesting to see if one of these brands makes it into the Top 10 Best Products in the years to come, and to what extent the brands that have managed to win over today’s young people remain strong brands for the rest of their lives.

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