Bunnings has been crowned the country’s strongest brand as consecutive lockdowns and a hot property market saw consumers tackle around-the-home projects and renovations.
The Wesfarmers-owned hardware chain beat out Woolworths in second place and Officeworks in third in Brand Finance Australia’s annual analysis of brand strength.
But Woolworths held its top spot as the most valuable brand in Australia for the third consecutive year, following a 9% boost to its brand value now reaching $13.7 billion.
Woolworths holds a 33% market share and successfully pivoted online to service its customer base during the supply chain slowdown, the analysis found.
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The report takes into account a myriad of measurements including marketing investment, investment, familiarity, loyalty, staff satisfaction and corporate reputation.
Retail is still king in Australia, with four of the five strongest Australian brands falling in this category and outperforming under sectors — like banking — in brand strength.
“The Australian retail sector has moved from strength to strength during the pandemic, overtaking the once dominating banking industry to become the nation’s most valuable,” Brand Finance Australia’s managing director Mark Crowe says.
“While leading Australian brands such as Woolworths, Coles, Bunnings, and Officeworks have thrived, the sector will need to continue to innovate and keep up with new trends to continue on this positive trajectory in a post-pandemic society.”
But it was also Bunnings’ diversification into vaccination that saw it take out the top spot, Crowe adds.
“Bunnings’ efforts in responding to residential and trade demand along with aiding the vaccination rollout has not gone unnoticed by consumers, who ranked the retailer particularly highly in terms of quality, innovation, value for money, loyalty and customer service.”
The hardware mega-chain actually jumped up eight spots this year, knocking Commonwealth Bank off the throne — the big bank won the accolade in 2021 after it rebuilt its brand amid pandemic uncertainty.
More broadly the total value of Australia’s top 100 brands has risen by 11% to reach $161 billion, while major industries in Australia have seen surging total brand value, including banking (up 7%), mining (up 27%), telecoms (up 10%), and retail (up 15%).
Homewares and furnishings also saw a noticeable uptick, with Kmart up 26% to $1.4 billion, Priceline up 12% to $392 million, Reece Australia up 10% to $988 million, and Target up 8% to $522 million.
But banks have taken a noticeable hit, Crowe says.
“As Australian consumers are less inclined to choose the traditional banking industry, the big four brands have declined in strength, exacerbated by issues pertaining to misleading consumers over credit insurance,” he explains.
“While the traditional banks remain a stalwart of the Australian banking industry in name, their brands will have to work hard on improving reputation to defend the competition from smaller emerging banks and nimble fin tech brands.”
Top 10 strongest Australian brands
- Commonwealth Bank