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Lexus Leads Automotive Brands Considered by Americans To Have Their Best Days Ahead of Them

The Lippincott Brand Study Illuminates Automotive Brands with the Greatest Brand Momentum

New York, NY (August 26, 2013) - Lippincott, one of the world’s leading brand strategy firms, today released a report that examines the brand momentum of automotive brands in the U.S., revealing Lexus as the automotive brand with the greatest “brand momentum.*”  The report, entitled “Driving the Future,” is based on analysis from the Lippincott Brand Study of 30,000 consumers across four continents and reveals the top five automotive brands considered to have their best days ahead of them.  At the top of the list in the U.S is Lexus, followed by BMW, Toyota, Mercedes and Audi.  The report provides recommendations for auto manufacturers to better define and deliver a compelling brand experience.

“It is becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate auto brands based on quality or performance differences.  In the 20th century, the automobile represented self-expression at its most powerful.  Today, new markets, customers, technology and competitors are forcing automakers to take a fresh look at how they create relevance and desire among consumers in order to make their brand one considered to have its best days ahead of it,” said Dylan Stuart, Partner, Brand Strategy, Lippincott.

The Lippincott Brand Momentum Index* is a simple ratio that measures the number of consumers who think a brand’s best days are in front of them over those who feel the opposite. “Our analysis has shown this ratio to be strongly predictive of brand preference and receptivity to marketing,” said Stuart.

Top 5 auto performers on ‘Brand Momentum’ Index*:

1. Lexus – Almost six times more consumers who claim to “know Lexus” think its best days are ahead of it versus behind it (85 percent of customers).  Lexus stands out from the pack due to a very strong focus on delivering the customer experience and longstanding leadership in hybrid technology.  Brand Momentum Score: 5.5

2. BMW – BMW boasts a 4.6 ratio. While all the premium German carmakers continue to seek ways to better differentiate their brands, BMW manages to stand out for being the most forward looking and innovative.  Brand Momentum Score: 4.6

3. Toyota – Consistently loved by customers, Toyota proves that delivering strongly on the basics – practicality, quality and reliability – is a way into the hearts of consumers. Brand Momentum Score: 4.4

4. Mercedes– 81.4 percent of consumers who claim to “know Mercedes” think its best days are ahead of it.  Mercedes, clearly a strong performer on brand momentum has a Brand Momentum Score of 4.38.

5. Audi— As it becomes increasingly difficult to differentiate on quality and technology, the real challenge for the premium German brands is to better differentiate on the brand experience. The Audi brand has a Brand Momentum Score of 4.2.

"While not among the top five brand momentum performers, it’s interesting to note that the highest-ranking U.S. carmakers are Chevrolet and Ford,” Stuart commented. “These brands really stand out as showing Detroit is once again creating cars that are relevant and desired by consumers" 

Keys to Automotive Brand Momentum

According to the study, the brands with the highest brand momentum have four things in common that have led to their success:

1. They are distinctive—these brands have defining characteristics that make them truly unique and matter to people.
2. They are authentic—they are true to the essence of what makes the brand special while staying relevant and vital.
3. They are relevant—they connect to the things people care about the most and embody the traits that people find exciting.
4. They are immersive—they create compelling, seamless experiences that deliver the brand beyond the vehicle.

Added Stuart, “Staying relevant is going to become increasingly difficult as consumer expectations increase. Most carmakers still sell a product rooted in the expectations of the mid 20th century, while consumers are looking for their car to be their next device – smart, connected and life enriching.”

About the Brand Momentum Index*
To calculate the momentum score for a brand, consumers who are aware of a brand were asked if they agree with the statement, "this brand's best days are ahead of it." Respondents choose from the three answers "Yes," "No," and "Maybe." The Brand Momentum score is the ratio of "Yes" to "No" answers.  Lexus, the top scorer, has a ratio of 5.5 “Yes” answers for every No answer, and is in the top 10 percent of all brands tested in the U.S. across all categories.  This brand momentum score translates to: 84.6 percent of consumers who know Lexus feel that its best days are ahead of it.  The average Brand Momentum score in the U.S. for auto brands is 2.97, putting the Top 5 well above average.  

About The Lippincott Brand Study
The Lippincott Brand Study is Lippincott’s unique approach to measuring and evaluating brands. Now in its fourth year, this ongoing study is fielded online among a nationally-representative sample of over 30,000 consumers across 4 continents. The Lippincott Brand Study covers the largest consumer-facing brands within multiple categories, and also features up-and-coming and smaller breakthrough brands selected by a committee of marketing experts. The study complements traditional measures of brand value by providing a strategic lens on the drivers of brand success, and unlocks a wide array of insights for brand building.  

About Lippincott
Lippincott is a leading brand strategy and design firm with a 70-year heritage crafting authentic stories, memorable experiences and winning strategies for the world’s most iconic brands.  Its expertise spans all aspects of brand building including strategy, identity design, experience innovation and activation. The firm uniquely combines business-based strategic thinking and creative excellence to solve complex challenges facing corporations today as they shape their brands for the future. Recent clients include 3M, Delta Air Lines, Hyatt, Infiniti, Samsung, Starbucks and Walmart. Lippincott is part of Oliver Wyman, a global professional services organization owned by Marsh & McLennan Companies.

August 26, 2013