Subscribe to industry newsletters

Eight new category winners in 2008 Top Brands

Eight out of 39 categories are topped by new winners, which is an amazing feat! It is always comforting that one of the defining trends of the Top Brands survey is stability, as this is in line with credible global brand studies. Despite this trend, it is very encouraging to see that there has been considerable movement this year, which is a result of rigorous and sustained brand management. [video]
Eight new category winners in 2008 Top BrandsNew category kings include Dark & Lovely, Clover, Lunch Bar, Dial Direct, Bonitas, Nike, Southern Sun and Netcare/Netcare 911.

This year also marks the 10th year partnership of the Ipsos Markinor/Sunday Times Top Brands Survey. The survey is the only research-based, consumer-driven guide to brand performance in South Africa that aims to better understand the way in which brands are perceived and experienced by all types of consumers. This survey is well-respected by marketers and brand managers, as it is considered an accurate reflection of what is happening at the consumer coalface.

The survey comprises two modules, with the business-to-consumer one including 27 categories, and the business-to-business one 12 categories. A new category has been added to the consumer module for Alcoholic Spirits (excluding beer), which saw J&B taking the top spot. Out of the top 10 brands, five are brandy brands, three are whiskey and Amarula, in true South African spirit, is firmly placed in seventh position.

Two forms

The victors of the Ipsos Markinor/Sunday Times Top Brands survey have historically come in two forms: the leader of the Grand Prix questions and the frontrunner of each of the industry categories.

The Grand Prix questions are solo, spontaneous questions, such as ‘What is your favourite brand?' or ‘Who has done the most to uplift the community?” The category winners are awarded based on a composite metric called the Brand Relationship Score (BRS), which is an assemblage of three factors: spontaneous awareness, level of trust and confidence and commitment.

Categories that are included again this year, after being alternated with other categories in 2007, include beauty products for facial skin care, beauty products for hair care, food kept in the fridge, food kept in the pantry or on the shelf, grocery and convenience stores, clothing stores and radio stations.

Getting to the interesting detail: within the overall favourite brand category, Coca-Cola again convincingly leads the pack. Nike and Pick 'n Pay increase its rank order, as does Eskom!! On goes the adage that bad publicity may be better than no publicity! We do have to remind ourselves that this survey is reflective of the entire South African adult population, and people who previously did not have access to electricity may have felt that this brand has still done a lot to improve their lives. MTN and BMW are two new brands that enter the top 10 for the first time this year.

Closely contested

Within the favourite advertiser category this year, the top three rankings are closely contested, with Vodacom leading the pack, followed by Coca-Cola and MTN. It is very encouraging to see that HIV/Aids and Love Life fill seventh and eight position respectively, reflecting the impact of the communication efforts of these campaigns!

In the coolest brand category, Nike has pipped Coca-Cola to take top spot as South Africa's coolest brand. This category reflects that cool is truly in the eye of the beholder, as 661 individual brands were mentioned.

Community upliftment is the final and pre-eminent Grand Prix award due to the intense need for corporate South Africa to give back to the very stakeholders who have made their brands what they are today - the consumers. Again, Coca-Cola tops the list, reflecting the huge contributions it makes towards improving the lives of South Africans. The brand that has experienced the most improvement in this category is MTN, which moved from 10th position in 2007, to sixth this year.

Survey methodology

Business-to-consumer module

The business-to-consumer module targets all adults, aged 16 and older, residing in South Africa. The sample of 3500 respondents, of which 2000 are from metro areas and 1500 from non-metro areas, was randomly selected and is thus truly representative of our proverbial rainbow nation. It included people from all population groups, languages, geographical areas (even deep rural areas) and income groups and, because a probability sample was used, results were weighted back to represent the universe from which it was drawn. Interviews were conducted face-to-face and in the respondents' language of choice to ensure understandability.

Business-to-Consumer Categories included in 2008:

  • Banks
  • Short-term insurance
  • Long-term insurance
  • Medical aids
  • Fast-food and restaurant chains
  • Food kept in the pantry or on the shelf
  • Food kept in the fridge
  • Beer
  • Alcoholic spirits
  • Television stations
  • Petrol
  • Cars
  • Soft/cold drinks and fruit juices
  • Telecommunications providers
  • Beauty products for facial skin care
  • Beauty products for hair care
  • Cellphones
  • Newspapers - daily
  • Newspapers - weekly
  • Radio stations
  • Clothing stores
  • Grocery & convenience stores
  • Chocolates - (new category)
  • South Africa's favourite advertiser
  • Coolest brand
  • South Africa's overall favourite brand
  • Company operating in South Africa perceived to have done the most to uplift our community

Business-to-business module

Realising that certain brands, such as IT brands, hotel groups, airlines and business schools, are really only experienced by business individuals, a second module was introduced to the Top Brands Survey in 2004. This module is aimed at gaining insights from our business leaders, as the sample aims to be as representative as possible of the South African business environment.

A sample of 400 telephonic interviews were conducted among C-level individuals from various industries (such as CEOs, CFOs, MDs and any other directors) and respondents were from companies with a staff base of 100 or more employees. Respondents' names were randomly sourced using a customised database from Matrix Marketing, one of the leaders in business-to-business database management. Twelve categories were included in this module, which were ranked on the BRS achieved.

Business-to-Business Categories included in 2008:

  • Corporate and merchant banking
  • Domestic airlines
  • International airlines
  • Hotel groups
  • Car hire
  • It brands
  • Business schools
  • Auditors / business and management consultants
  • Cars
  • Business media - electronic
  • Business media - print
  • Healthcare facilities

Fieldwork for both modules was conducted in April and May 2008 and a minimum of 20% back-check was administered on each interviewer's work.

Business-to-consumer presentation (990KB)
Business-to-business presentation (1MB)

About Susan Moerdyk

Susan Moerdyk is a business unit director at Ipsos Markinor (, managing the Top Brands survey, and is primarily involved in building strong client relations. Heading up Ipsos Markinor's ASI team, she is passionate about sharing the value of this new advertising research offering with the industry in ensuring its success going forward. Susan has a B Comm Honours degree from Rand Afrikaans University and an MBA from the University of Pretoria. Contact her on tel +27 (0)11 686 8400 or email .

Let's do Biz