Markets constantly shift. New trends emerge. Competitors enter and shake things up. To get ahead of the competition, many businesses now realise it's important for them to stay relevant to customers and make a difference in their lives.
Partnering with SSI, brand consultancy Prophet unveiled its first China "brand relevance index", surveyed nearly 10,000 consumers from over 275 brands across 24 industries. The firm found that Alipay is the most relevant brand in China, followed by WeChat and Visa, in influencing consumer’s lives.
According to the result, three Chinese digital platforms dominated the top 10 brands list: Alipay and Wechat at numbers one and two, respectively, and Tmall at number eight.
Top five most relevant brands in China
Owning the lion’s share of 70% of China’s mobile payment market in 2015, Alipay has 450 million active users and averages 175 million transactions daily. It dominates all four brand relevance pillars that the index measures. In particular, it leads second place WeChat by 10% for being “distinctively inspired ”.
For its 700 million monthly active users, WeChat has become an omnipotent portal that addresses all sorts of daily needs, be it digital payments, e-commerce, B2C customer service, or even fundraising. 21% of its users access the app more than 50 times a day, while another 40% do it more than 10 times daily. WeChat performs exceptionally well in “meets an important need of my life”, because once you have it, you simply cannot live without it.
In spite of UnionPay’s monopoly status in China, Visa has earned consumers’ trust by providing digital-driven paying services and being readily available beyond the Chinese border. Compared to UnionPay, Visa wins big in terms of being “available where and when I need it”.
Marriott’s success lies largely in strategic wooing of Chinese travelers. For instance, it is one of the first-movers to introduce digital-oriented services tailor-made for Chinese travelers, including AliPay-enabled payments and WeChat global concierge services. These perks allow Marriott to lead its category in “Has better products, services, and experiences than competitors”.
Despite the extremely tough competition from local ride-hailing superpower Didi Chuxing, overall Uber has a significant lead over Didi when it comes to “Pushes the status quo”.
The thinking behind Prophet's methodology is based on the theories of Professor David Aaker, vice chairman of Prophet and author of Brand Relevance: Making Competitors Irrelevant.
"In this era of infinite expectation and persistent change, absolutely nothing is more critical for a brand than to be, and to remain, relevant," said Jay Milliken, senior partner at Prophet.
"Of the 50 brands in the index, 18 were Chinese, demonstrating that Chinese consumers find relevance in both global and homegrown brands," he added.
The brand relevance index's four dimensions of brand relevance are made up of 16 attributes, which measure important brand characteristics like "meets an important need in my life" or "makes my life easier." The data shows that customer experience is critical to achieving relevance. All the brands in the top 50 have "delivers a consistent experience" as one of their top five attributes.