For the third year running we have summarised the UK’s Top 100 Most Loved Drinks Brands, providing insight into which beverage brands UK adults have the closest emotional connection with.
Being distinctive is more important than being differentiated to category buyers.
Drawing on findings from the report, we take a look at the four key characteristics that the most loved drinks brands have in common.
01 High penetration
The brands shoppers buy are the most loved and vice versa. The correlation between Brand Love and buying is largely the same if we take the frequency interval as last four weeks, last three months or last 12 months.
02 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 mental and physical availability. 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. By contrast there’s no correlation between Brand Love and being described as “something different”. Being distinctive is more important than being differentiated to category buyers.
03 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 although categories at the margins also provides insights.
At one end some fruit cider brands lack product quality credentials, at the other end some malt whisky and brandy brands have more product quality than love perceptions highlighting potential brand positioning and messaging opportunities. Being “interesting” or “cool” does not correlate with Brand Love. Indeed, craft beer brands are most likely to be described as “interesting” yet no brands in the category appear in the Top 100 Most Loved Drinks Brands.
04 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 have 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 have built up exclusivity by communicating their limited production and the process behind making their products. The Macallan (the largest riser from 2021 to 2022) leads the malt whisky category in terms of the desirability of its rarest aged whiskies, and this may be having a halo effect on its entry level variants. Naturally, consumers begin building associations with such brands and special occasions, increasing their value as a result.
Download the full report here for the Top 100 league table as well as more of the latest trends and insights from the drinks sector.