Following our recent launch of BrandVue’s Most Loved Drinks Brands 2023, it has been interesting observing the differences in drinking behaviours and attitudes across demographics – but in this article, we explore what the most loved brands have in common.
This year, four key characteristics stand out.
The brands shoppers buy are the most loved and vice versa. As per the graph below, the correlation between affinity and buying in the last three months is strong (0.64) – and remember, this includes high affection/low buying frequency categories like champagne, as well as the high affection/high buying frequency categories like soft drinks.
Popularity and market leadership
The most loved brands are associated with popularity and particularly market leadership. Market leaders are under attack from contenders in all categories – the most loved ones retain relevance combined with high distribution. Robert Cialdini’s book “Influence” (2013) outlined the six reasons why people are persuaded to buy brands. One of these is social proofing: we trust the power of the crowd and like to be associated with popular things. In fact, the correlation between Brand Love and being described as “Popular” is a strong one (0.55) By contrast, there’s no correlation between Brand Love and being described as “Something Different”. Rather, distinctiveness is more important than differentiation to category buyers.
Perceived product quality
Brands with high Brand Love also maintain a high score on Brand Advantage i.e. perceived product quality, highlighting that product quality credentials (in terms of ingredients used, sourcing and manufacturing process, for example) should be part of a brand’s message to help build emotional connections. The correlation is a very strong one (0.87), although for certain categories the relationship is not a completely linear one.
For example, some much loved fruit cider brands can lack product quality credentials – highlighting the need for comms to convey quality of ingredients, provenance, and taste appeal. While some malt whisky and brandy brands score higher on product quality rather than love, suggesting the need to communicate emotional as well as product benefits to build Brand Love.
Being “Interesting” or “Cool” or “Modern” does not correlate with Brand Love. Indeed, many brands with high “Interesting” associations such as Seedlip have relatively low levels of Brand Love and despite the craft beer category generally being considered cool and interesting, only one brand makes it into the Top 100 – Beavertown, with its emerging favourite, Gamma Ray.
Worth paying more for
The most loved brands particularly over-index on two image attributes – being described as “Worth Paying More For” and “High Quality”.
Brands like Fever-Tree and San Pellegrino (and indeed J2O when it was first launched) built up a higher price point by starting off in selective, on-trade distribution and building quality associations. Champagne brands and premium vodkas like Grey Goose and Cîroc have built up exclusivity by communicating their limited production and the process behind making their products. Laphroiag leads the malt whisky category in terms of the desirability of its rarest whiskies, and this is likely to be having a halo effect on its entry level variants.
Naturally, consumers begin building associations between such brands and special occasions or premium gifting, increasing its value as a result.
BrandVue’s Most Loved Drinks Brands 2023 recognises the most emotively connected drink brands in the UK.
For more insight into trends in the drinks sector, as well as accessing the league table of the UK’s top 100 most loved drink brands, download the report – for free – below.
BrandVue’s Most Loved Drinks Brands 2023