Netflix, Uber or the Royal family? - What were the best brands of the 2010s?
PUBLISHED: 07:55 08 January 2020 | UPDATED: 07:40 09 January 2020
Today, brands like Netflix, Amazon, Uber, Facebook and Instagram are instantly recognisable.
But cast your mind back 10 years ago and it was other names such as Coca Cola, McDonalds, Google, Nokia and Microsoft which dominated the national psyche.
In the intervening decade, names which now seem commonplace have muscled into the major league with a distinct set of products and services which have captured the public imagination.
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But which have done so most effectively? East Anglian PR experts believe the decade has provided fertile ground for a new crop of social media-savvy incomers which have transformed how we do things.
Steve Curzon - former marketing director at Southwold brewers Adnams and before that the Lawn Tennis Association - now runs his own marketing firm in Woodbridge. He names Netflix, Fever Tree, Amazon Prime, Instagram and food brand Deliciously Ella as his top five brands of the decade.
Remarkably, streaming service Netflix only entered the UK market in 2012, he points out.
Yet in a short space of time it has become one of the most successful dot.com businesses of all time, playing its part in transforming the way television is consumed and films made as a succession of hits from House of Cards and Orange is the New Black to Breaking Bad had us glued to our sofas.
"Today it has approximately 150m subscribers worldwide, 10m in the UK and provides services in 26 languages," he says. "This was the decade that TV viewing changed - by 2019 almost 10% of all TV viewing hours came from subscription video on demand and will continue to grow."
Meanwhile the rise of tonic water brand Fever Tree accompanied a dramatic surge in popularity for a very old-style drink - gin.
"My word, pubs and bars have changed dramatically in recent years as they have had to evolve and offer a richer experience in the face of the growth of off-trade alcohol sales," says Steve.
"Fever Tree was launched in 2004 and steadily built global sales by persuading bar owners that the quality of a GnT relies on the quality of the tonic, the nine tenths of the drink itself."
Meanwhile, on-demand delivery and streaming service Amazon Prime has moved to the vanguard of the online shopping revolution, while a range of bricks-and-mortar retail brands struggle - with some, like Toys R Us, Tie Rack, Phones 4 U and BHS already swept off the high street.
Time will tell whether a much smaller brand, Deliciously Ella, has the strength to survive the next decade, says Steve, but it has become "arguably the most high profile brand in the UK" as the move towards meat-free and 'flexitarian' diets continues.
"Ella Woodward started a food blog in 2012 called Deliciously Ella and followed up with her first recipe book in 2015, Deliciously Ella Every Day," he says. "Today the brand is carried across a range of plant-based products including granola, protein balls and muesli."
Instagram, launched in 2010 and purchased by Facebook in 2012, now has more than a billion users worldwide, placing it among his decade-defining brands.
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Brand advocate Rob Davies of Norwich-based oneonone communications, lists his top five as Deliveroo, Airbnb, Brewdog, Amazon and Samsung.
"For me the top five defining brands of the last decade are ones that are game changers. Ones that have altered the 'norm' of how we do or buy things," he explains.
Deliveroo - which pioneered the home delivery of food and drink from local restaurants and take-aways - enabled small businesses to enjoy a slice of the takeaway cake, while Airbnb similarly opened up earning opportunities for ordinary people - and provided some competition to hotels.
BrewDog, founded in Ellon in Scotland, "tapped into the fun, young and vibrant aspect of beer drinking" and the rise of the craft beer movement, he says.
Amazon continued to innovate and reinvent itself, including through its latest venture into Premier League football, while smartphone and TV manufacturer Samsung had shown that despite many people's love affair with Apple, "using innovation to deliverable and smart products can beat the perceived 'best'," he says.
"Whether it's a TV or mobile phone, most experts now lean towards Samsung as the first choice because they know it absolutely delivers on what consumers demand and is not seen as trying to make you join a private club."
Penny Arbuthnot, director at Ipswich-based Genesis, lists Spotify, Netflix, AirBnB, Deliveroo, Uber and Instagram among her top brand picks of the 2010s.
Spotify has changed the way we listed to music, she says, while Netflix has transformed how we watch TV.
"The decade's most transformative brands are giving us what we want, when we want, all in a couple of taps - perhaps this has been the key to making it big in the 2010s."
The royal family is the left-field choice of Ellen Widdup, editorial boss at Felixstowe-based Prominent PR, for top brand, in a decade when its younger generation moved to the fore.
"In fact, Andrew aside, in the last decade the royal family's popularity has experienced a surge not seen since the days of the late Princess Diana. A lot of this has been to do with the Kate and Meghan effect, the rest to do with the royal family's acceptance that they need to move with the times," she says.
Her other top picks include Instagram - "the most powerful force in shaping commerce this side of Amazon" - and Swedish flat-pack furniture giant Ikea, "one of the most instantly recognisable brands on our planet" with a "stylish and fun" attitude to advertising.
But she also feels the rise of the "personal brand" has enabled ordinary people to reach mass audiences.
"We have the ability to 'curate a life' - to only show the best of what you do and hide the other stuff," she explains.
"This has been particularly beneficial for fashion and beauty content creators on Instagram. Recent years have seen a rise in influencers who have managed to monetise their personal brands through brand deals, sponsored posts and paid partnerships.
"A perfect example of this, with more than 11m Instagram followers, is lifestyle and beauty guru Zoella who successfully launched a business off the back of her social media accounts."
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