Saturday, October 8, 2011

Top service brands in Finland

The Finnish marketing and advertising magazine, Markkinointi & Mainonta published a list of most appreciated brands in Finland. The magazine highlighted the Finns now liking even more Finnish brands than before. The only foreign brand in top 10 was Google.

The respondents evaluated their appreciation, usage and awareness on brands and if they would recommend the brand to their peers. The study did not tell how many people participated in the survey.

Some interesting findings. Anni Helena and Riitan Herkku in top 200. These brands were higher in the list than Helsingin Sanomat and R-Kioski. I guess a national study influences a Helsinki area driven brand. Stockmann, the Finnish shopping flagship, in place 133 after Aino ice cream, Mustapekka cheese and Kivikylän kotipalvaamo? Even if Stockmann is present only in a number of cities, where and how do you actually find and see Kivikylän kotipalvaamo?

But what about service brands? As said, Google was the only foreign brand in top 10 - and the only service brand in top 10. The first Finnish service brand in place 14 is S-Etukortti. Most likely in most Finns´pocket. But that the service benefit is so much appreciated even after S-ryhmä stopped sending the annual bonus coupons, which I personally found the core benefit for my S-shopping behaviour?

The other kinds of service brands in top 100 were bookstores, banks (after all the discussion on banking services, one bank has managed to differentiate from others), radio and tv channels by YLE and travel brands Finnair and Aurinkomatkat.

Compared to the study made 10 years ago, biggest changes in service brands positions were first of all the drop by Finnair - then in position 8. Finnair (and Helsinki airport), having gotten all the prestigiuous service awards, has unfortunately been impacted by continuous problems in package handling and strikes by its own employees and partnering companies. Another loser is Silja Line, whose image worsened within the merger to Tallink and the lively management incidents. The bookstores still score high but Stockmann and Sokos fall behind.

The real big winners in the competition are symbols representing a new era: Finnishness, quality and ecology in general. Brands ranked in Top 30: Joutsenlippu, Joutsenmerkki, Avainlippu, Luomu.

Would this trend indicate that the Finnish consumption behaviour is moving towards specialized goods and services which clearly promote their company values and sustainability? Are service brands able to provide such an experience towards its customers? Matkahuolto, VR, Finnair, travel agencies, media companies, new emerging service brands that provide a unique Finnish, high quality, sustainable experience? Following this, I expect that the number of service brands on the list in 2021 has doubled.