Kantar Talks | Brand Growth with the Top 75 Most Valuable UK Brands


Following this year’s Kantar Talks, we take a look at some of the inspiring and insightful sessions, with a specific focus on insights and measurement, and give our view on what they could mean for your business.

Understandably brand growth is on the agenda of the majority of brand’s minds, however it is increasingly hard to find across multiple sectors within the UK. Multiple industries have cited that in the UK, the tough and uncertain economic backdrop created by years of austerity and Brexit is putting pressure on brands, as highlighted by Rachel Eyre, Head of Future Brands, Sainsbury’s and David Wheldon, CMO, RBS. Alongside this, multiple industries are going through rapid change due to new entrants such as fintech in the retail finance space and purpose-centric shopping taking away from one-stop shop supermarkets.

Brand growth

Martin Guerrieria, Global Research Director, BrandZ discussed the reasons why brands often fail to grow:

  • Can’t see how to grow – simply put, they are in a place whereby they are not sure how to change their model or positioning to enable brand growth
  • Can’t reach/get there – despite changes to their business they continue to plateau, and growth seems always out of reach
  • Can’t afford it – growing a large brand isn’t cheap. It can often cost a lot from both a structural and marketing point of view and brands don’t always have the investment required
  • Can’t do it – with brands that are aware that they need to change and how they must do it, they still lack the skills or organisational structure to facilitate brand growth

Unfortunately, the current outlook for brands is not good. Despite the global economy growing 3.7%, the UK’s top brands have decreased by 3% and it is predicted by 2023 there will be no UK brands in the Global 100 compared to the three there in 2019.

However, this does not mean growth is impossible. In fact, several companies within BrandZ’s Top 75 Most Valuable UK Brands have achieved considerable growth. Three years ago, BrandZ highlighted the top brands that were perceived by customers to be the most innovative, in the three years since, these brands went on to grow by 9%.

The panel highlighted that being a well-known brand is not enough. A brand that is very salient amongst consumers, but does not differentiate when it comes to being meaningful or different has a real threat of declining. In the UK most, big brands that have ceased to trade this side of the 20th century (e.g. Woolworths, Comet and Toys’R’Us) have had a great salience index at 110+ but really lacked meaningful difference at 80-90.

Compare this to high performing challenger brands in the fashion sector such as ASOS and BooHoo that have a low salience at 78 but a difference of 113. This is even starker in the retail banking sector where most big brands tend to be clustered around the 100-average compared to Monzo that has a difference score of 174 and is one of the faster growing brands within the sector.


If you subscribe to the view that mental availability (brand salience) is largely driven by the quantity and quality of interactions that people have with your brand, then partnerships are a fantastic platform to build these associations. This can either complement or supersede advertising (particularly when campaigns are “off air”) through the ‘emotive’ medium of sport, entertainment and culture. Similarly, partnerships also provide brands with the opportunity to let their distinctiveness shine in a way that builds brand salience. Differentiation comes primarily through activation – telling a story that is compelling to people while also being ‘different’ from the rest.

To read our full report on Kantar Talks, click here.