In Taiwan’s top 100, Sony, Chanel and Apple captured the top three spots. The first two have held those positions for three years running. Chanel continues to show strength in every market, holding top spots while other luxury brands lost luster in Asia.
Whereas Sony has slipped in other markets, including in its home turf of Japan, Taiwanese consumers still consider it the top brand. Perhaps it’s because Sony often uses the market for global rollouts. Vietnam is the only other market where Sony has held No. 1 for three years running.
Other brands of note in the market include Quaker Oats, which has invested millions in Taiwan for local production. The brand does far better here than in any other Asian nation. This year Quaker came in at No. 13 for the market, down a peg from previous years, but it doesn't even crack the top 100 in other markets. Still, the brand has been gaining across the region. See its interactive brand chart to view steady progress up through the ranks since 2005.
HTC has seen much trouble abroad but still wins hearts at home. Taiwan is the only Asia market where the brand makes it into a local top 100, and it still fell from No. 15 in 2014 to No. 18 this year. In the overall APAC ranking, the phone maker slumped from No. 122 to No. 131. As outlined in Campaign earlier this month, HTC faces many challenges and its pricy ads with Iron Man’s Robert Downey Jr don’t seem to be enough to give it a boost.
However, mounting a turnaround was something Taiwan’s PC producer Acer pulled off. The brand had completely dropped off the local ranking in the past two years. This year Acer made a comeback, re-entering the Taiwan list at No. 36. Its overall ranking for APAC also suffered from 2011, bottoming out in 2013 when it came in at No. 138 (which still places it within the top 20 per cent of Asia’s highly favoured brands). For 2015, Acer rushed up to No. 78 in the APAC list. The company has bet big on two-in-one or convertible notebooks and that strategy seems to be paying off. But as Asia goes more mobile can a PC maker still make it? Even Microsoft has acknowledged the end of desktop dominance.
In Thailand, Samsung chalked up another top spot, taking No. 1 with Apple and Sony following. It’s the third year running for all three. For all the recent unrest in Thialand, the country’s brand ranking actually shows the most stability of any of the local markets; the top-five names all have held their place for the past three years. The country’s top-10 list is also the one that most closely resembles the overall APAC ranking.
Perhaps also related to a history of unrest, Thai consumers showed the strongest affinity for an insurance brand out of all the markets we track together with Nielsen. American International Assurance (AIA) placed at No. 54, which is also the highest it placed in any market, including its home base of Hong Kong. No other market had an insurance brand reach so high in its local rankings. Thai Life Insurance also ranked as one of the country’s favorite brands, at No. 97.
The market’s highest-ranking local name is Thai Airways. But brand love in this case hasn’t resulted in profits lately; the airline has talked of cost cutting, staff reductions and fewer flights. Trouble at the till hasn’t yet tarnished the reputation as the name actually climbed one spot in the 2015 ranking to reach No. 17 (it also got lift across APAC, taking off from No. 198 to No. 191).
Another local Thai name that jumped in the 2015 ranking is Thai Post, which ran up 26 places to No. 42 in the Thai list and a bounded 146 places, from No. 706 to No. 560, in APAC overall.
And finally, to be big in Japan this year, you had to be Panasonic. This is a bit of an upset. The brand has made steady advances in Japan over the past few years; in 2014 it outstripped Apple and Meiji to land at No. 2 and this year it truly won over local consumers to push Sony out of the top spot. Across APAC Panasonic has consistently placed within the top 10 (with one exception in 2008). Reuters reported earlier in the year that Panasonic “remains on track for its best annual operating profit since 2008”. So the brand’s efforts appear to be paying off in both reputation and profit metrics.
Also demonstrating a link between reputation and sales, Coca-Cola rose three spots to make it into the top 20 for Japan. The company has also released sales numbers indicating volume growth is on the way up in the country. However, volume growth in China was even bigger (6 per cent vs 1 per cent); and in China the brand also made bigger gains reputation wise, jumping from No. 29 to No. 18 in that market. For APAC, Coke also climbed six places to land at No. 11, just shy of Asia’s top 10. That certainly says something about the success of the brand’s playful Share a Coke campaign.
Samsung can’t win in Japan. The top brand in APAC (as well as almost every individual market) seems to be faring worse and worse in Japan. In the 2014 study, when Samsung was No. 1 everywhere else, it only reached No. 139 in Japan; this year it fell further to No. 150 (that’s not even in the top 100 that Campaign and Nielsen typically track). In April the company went so far as to remove its brand name from its Galaxy flagship smartphone in Japan, opting insted to use brand names of local carriers for its Japan phones.
Another name struggling in the market is McDonalds, which fell 34 places from No. 44 in Japan to No. 78 (versus flat in APAC). The trend should be troubling for the burger chain as the market has historically been one of its biggest. Relative market size is sure to change in comparison to China, as sales in that nation pick up. But something drastic is needed to boost fortunes in Japan. The company recently posted "a record net loss of ¥26.2 billion for the first six months of the year”. By contrast, local competitor Mos Burger just barely climbed into Japan’s Top 100 this year. By some counts Mos Burger is the country’s second-largest fast-food chain, but it still has a ways to go as far as staying top of mind with Japanese consumers. However, if McDonalds keeps clowning around and stumbles again next year, the two chains could swap places in Japan’s 2016 ranking.
Armani also fell 34 places in Japan, but not from as high a perch.