Sophie Chen
Aug 29, 2013

Nike wins agency leaders’ favour; Reckitt Benckiser ranks lowest

ASIA PACIFIC - Nike once again tops the chart as the brand agency leaders would most love to work with, while Reckitt Benckiser drops to the bottom of a list of undesirable partners, according to the latest survey by The Talent Business.

Agency leaders' top 10 favoured partners
Agency leaders' top 10 favoured partners

The Global Brand Owner Reputation Survey was conducted between 12 April and 14 May with 330 respondents globally, including 43 Asia CEOs, managing directors, creative directors and planning directors, who were asked to assess clients on several criteria:

  • Belief in the value of ideas
  • A reputation for collaborative working
  • Seeing the opportunity in developing business solutions outside of advertising
  • Producing award-winning creative work and
  • Working on campaigns with a global impact.

The 29 brands rated by the respondents are Adidas, American Express, Apple, Bacardi, Coca-Cola, Colgate, Diageo, Ford, General Electric, General Motors, GlaxoSmithKline, Google, Kellogg’s, Kraft Foods, L'Oreal, Mastercard, McDonald's, Mars, Microsoft, Nestle, Nike, Pepsi, Procter & Gamble, Reckitt-Benckiser, Samsung, Unilever, Visa and Volkswagen.

As in 2012, the most important attribute that attracts Asia’s top agency leaders is that their clients value ideas, with 73 per cent of respondents considering this factor “extremely important”, compared with the global score of 67 per cent.

Working collaboratively with agencies is the second most important quality, as 57 per cent of regional respondents rated this as “extremely important”, compared with 47 per cent globally.

A brand’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) and its senior marketing officer (CMO) stood out as two fresh drivers for evaluating clients. However, compared to the other drivers, only 10 per cent of respondents consider clients who care about CSR as “extremely important” and only 13 per cent rate brand owners with highly regarded CMOs as “extremely important “.

Nike, once again, is rated by Asia agency leaders as the most desirable brand (68 per cent) to work with, and 76 per cent globally valued it as very desirable. The brand leads on six of the seven attributes, falling down on caring about social responsibility.

An Asia agency leader said the brand has a continued belief in the power of a big idea and bringing both the brand and products to life in fresh, interesting, brave and engaging ways. Another agency leader commented that Nike values the power of an idea, and has a high standard of execution excellence.

Google came in the second with a very small gap of 4 per cent, followed by Apple, Volkswagen and Diageo.

“Nike continues to be seen as innovative and groundbreaking by creative agencies,” said Charlie Thomas, managing director, Asia, of The Talent Business. “However, Google is hot on its heels in Asia. Nike needs to think about how to maintain its position.”

Newly joined Honda came in sixth. Its Internavi "Connecting Lifelines" work picked up the Digital Grand Prix at Spikes Asia and saw membership increase by 120 per cent in a year.

A senior planner said Honda’s past campaigns had been creatively adventurous and sometimes ground-breaking, meaning that the company is willing to support original ideas that some other clients may see as unnecessarily risky.

Unilever made a leap in rating from 15th to ninth, and came in the top six when rated on caring about CSR and for having highly regarded marketing leaders.

On the other hand, sitting in the bottom of the league table are Reckitt Benckiser, GlaxoSmithKline, GM, Microsoft, L’Oreal and General Electric.

An Asian senior marketer said Reckitt Benckiser seems to have no grasp of ideas, or interest in good work.

“As with last year, these results won’t come as a surprise to the agency community,” Thomas said. “Agencies know that a client’s reputation affects their ability to attract the best talent, but this on-going survey provides empirical evidence to back this up and could potentially affect an agency’s talent strategy.”

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