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Lippincott unveils a radically new way to measure and manage winning brands

Grounded in a global study of over 500 brands, Lippincott uncovers the key drivers for brand performance and resilience in disruptive times

March 11, 2020 8:30 AM EDT

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NEW YORK, March 11, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- In a world of endless choice, transparent product ratings, and intelligent decision-making assistants, does brand really matter? The answer, more than ever, is yes. But only a few have real meaning for consumers, while many risk becoming a commodity. Lippincott, a global creative consultancy specializing in brand and innovation, unveiled today the new standard for building a winning brand: Go-to Brands.

Underpinning Go-to Brands is the finding that the best brands excel on two core dimensions: Connection and Progress. While companies have long understood the value of being 'customer-centric,' today's consumers are looking for a more personal connection with brands that champion their worldview and values. Equally important is a brand's ability to enable progress for customers, whether by solving a larger societal problem or making a smaller quest in daily life easier.

When connection and progress reinforce each other, a brand becomes resilient, with more loyal customers willing to follow it across adjacent offerings or forgive it for any missteps. And, while it's becoming harder and harder to become "Go-to," the prize is bigger for brands that succeed: Go-to brands are likely to see 5x more revenue growth than brands that fall short in delivering connection and progress.

"In a world where 80% of product searches start on Amazon or Google, even the successful brands with satisfied customers are being intermediated," says Simon Glynn, Chief Strategy Officer of Lippincott. "Only a few brands are sufficiently front of mind to be sought out directly and for those, the rewards are big."

According to the study, brands today are classified in one of four categories:

  • Comfort Brands win users' hearts with strong connection but aren't seen as boundary pushers and enabling progress– they're at risk of being disrupted. U.S. examples in Lippincott's research include Netflix and Coca-Cola.
  • Enabling Brands are valued for what they do and the progress they enable, but not loved for how they do it. Many are celebrated innovators, but without winning users' hearts, they're at risk of losing loyalty. U.S. examples in Lippincott's research include YouTube and Uber.
  • Transactional Brands have low scores on both dimensions of connection and progress. They have room to grow across the board and are at risk of becoming a commodity brand.
  • Go-to Brands are the bar setters, where other brands should aspire to be. Many earn permission to play across traditional category boundaries. U.S. examples of Go-to Brands include Amazon, Spotify, Samsung and Southwest Airlines.

"The more the world becomes algorithmic, the more we want to connect as people," said Heather Stern, Lippincott's Chief Marketing Officer. "With Go-to Brands, we didn't want to develop another brand index but rather a diagnostic that helps businesses innovate and build more meaningful relationships with their customers."

Along with how a brand scores on connection and progress, the study measures customers' emotions when interacting with a brand at each touchpoint along the customer journey and a brand's future-readiness, revealing how well-positioned it is to serve the customer of the future. To download the full report, explore what it means to be a Go-to Brand, and get in touch to learn more, head to

Methodology Go-to Brands is backed by research from Brand Aperture, a proprietary suite of tools tailored to build, measure and manage Go-to Brands. The diagnostic provides an evaluation of performance today and directive implications for improvement across three dimensions:

Overall Brand Profile measures a brand's performance today using the primary dimensions of connection and progress that are at the core of what makes a Go-to Brand.

Emotional Depth reveals how people feel when interacting with a brand across 25 different emotions, unpacking why it's succeeding or failing at connecting with customers throughout the experience.

Future Readiness focuses on a brand's momentum ("Are its best days ahead of or behind it?") and its fitness to serve the customer of the future, based on emerging trends and Lippincott's Customer of the Future research.

The primary wave of the Brand Aperture Diagnose survey was taken by over 30,000 consumers in June 2019. Brands have been diagnosed in the U.S., U.K., China and France across twelve industries and cover a broad range of maturity and sizes.

About Lippincott Lippincott is a global creative consultancy. We have a passion for solving our clients' toughest challenges with a proven combination of strategic rigor and design excellence. A pioneer since 1943, we have shaped some of the world's most iconic brands and experiences. To help our clients grow, we focus on six primary areas: brand, innovation, design, experience, marketing and activation. From Coca-Cola to Samsung and Starbucks to Delta, our work drives growth and adds meaning to customers' lives. As the brand and innovation experts of Oliver Wyman, we integrate deep industry, risk and operational expertise to deliver end-to-end solutions. Together, we create new possibilities for our clients to thrive in the future.

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SOURCE Lippincott

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