Cost-of-living Protests Took Slight Toll on Brands' Reputations

Survey finds confidence in NGOs and public institutions on the rise.

It seems last year's cost-of-living protests took a slight toll on the reputation of certain brand names, but ultimately, they did not really have a major impact.

The fourth annual survey of Israeli consumers by Superbrands, a company that aims to raise the level of marketing by recognizing brands that demonstrate excellent marketing skills, found that the image of brands associated with the 2011 protests suffered slightly in the wake of the protests. The number of consumers who said they felt a connection to Tnuva cottage cheese slipped by 10% since last year's poll for example. Still, though, the dairy producer was named a "superbrand" by the survey.

Another brand that lost popularity over the past year was Super-Sol, which made the list last year, but not this year; but it's discount subsidiary, Super-Sol Deal, retained a spot on the list this year.

Altogether, there are 290 names on the "superbrand" list, which includes stores, banks, people, healthcare companies, nonprofits, food companies, cosmetics manufacturers, and more.

Consumer confidence in public institutions and nonprofit organizations is on the upswing, according to the survey. "If in the past, people believed less in governing institutions and more in brands, this year we are seeing a change in direction," said Eran Yasur, the chief editor of the Israeli survey results.

"It appears that following the protests and negative media coverage of brands and commercial entities, consumers are taking refuge in nonprofit organizations and organizations working for the benefit of the public, such as Adi [which encourages organ donations], Yad Sarah [which provides home health equipment and services], Zaka [the emergency medical organization], the Israel Defense Forces and the High Court of Justice," Yasur said.

Consumer identification with the Israeli army increased by 4.8% according to Superbrands, and identification with the Magen David Adom emergency rescue service by 4.6%.

The survey begins with the initial selection of a brand list by a panel of CEOs and corporate marketing directors. Market research company MarketWatch then conducts a survey by asking 800 consumers to develop rankings for the 706 brands on the list. The top-ranked 290 are named "superbrands."

Of the private companies who received the honor this year, 14 brands belong to the Strauss Group, the food and coffee manufacturer - the highest among any company on the list. Those named include the Strauss brand itself, as well as Elite, Elite Turkish and instant coffees, Pesek Zman, Para chocolate, Danone and Yotvata dairy products, Milky pudding snacks and Max Brenner - the chocolate manufacturer and restaurant chain. But as was the case with Tnuva, brands strongly associated with Strauss and with protests over prices, such as Milky and Pesek Zman, slipped somewhat in their ranking. Brands that are less identified with Strauss, such as Achla salads and spreads and the Tami 4 water dispenser, joined the superbrand list this year.

Other newcomers to the list included: Rami Levi, who took the honor twice, first for the supermarket chain that he heads, Rami Levi Shivuk Hashikma, and also as an individual personality in his own right; Telma; author A.B. Yehoshua; Cellcom; and MSN Messenger.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu climbed two spots on the list. He is fourth in the "personality" category, compared to ranking sixth place last year. For the fourth straight year, the top spots among individuals were taken by President Shimon Peres and singers Shlomo Artzi and Arik Einstein.