Quality brands are becoming more popular again

Stephan Shakespeare
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<div>FOR a while we saw the march of the &ldquo;value&rdquo; brands, as the recession helped Aldi and co make advances on their more expensive rivals. The graph shows what actually happened to brand values. We have created two baskets of brands &ndash; seven associated with lower-end or &ldquo;value-for-money&rsquo; (Aldi, Morrisons, Primark, Matalan, RyanAir, Walls, Subway), and seven related brands thought of as higher-end or &ldquo;quality&rdquo; (Waitrose, M&amp;S Food, Ted Baker, Karen Millen, British Airways, Haagen Dazs, Pret A Manger). We show the monthly average of their BrandIndex scores, which measure each of the brands daily on public perceptions of value, quality, corporate reputation, general brand image and willingness to &ldquo;recommend&rdquo; to colleagues. The average of these scores is the Index score.<br />&nbsp;</div>
<div>The end of 2007 saw a significant drop in the brand health of the &ldquo;quality&rdquo; end: although their net scores are much higher than the &ldquo;value&rdquo; brands (the graph has two different scales so be aware that the high-end basket averages a whopping Plus 80, whereas the other basket averages Plus 12), they lose ground steadily until the Spring of 2008, and then start to rise again. Over the same period the rival basket closes the gap all the way until the end of 2008. But since then, the move has reversed, just as strongly. Is this some indicator of a change in consumer confidence? Or is it just an expression of desire?<br /><br />&nbsp;</div>
<div>Meanwhile in politics, the race for Speaker of the House of Commons is hotting up. Maybe that isn&rsquo;t quite the right term: anything involving Sir Patrick Cormack can hardly be described as &lsquo;hotting&rsquo;. Nevertheless, there has been a flurry of excitement at Westminster. Significantly, that excitement has not spread beyond the parish, and polling figures suggest that few are highly engaged with the issue. The bookies favourite, Bercow, scored just one per cent with the people. When you think it about it, that&rsquo;s suprising and sad &ndash; it reminds us that in reality, Parliament belongs to them, not to us.&nbsp;<br />&nbsp;</div>
<div>Stephan Shakespeare is co-founder and chief innovation officer of YouGov</div>