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‘Low-tech’ brands stronger than Apple: Study

Althea Chang

Apple may be one of the most popular brands among smartphone and tablet users, but some "low-tech" names are actually the strongest brands, according to a recent report.

By stretching brands beyond their initial product categories, certain toilet paper and detergent brands for instance are seeing the most upward momentum, according to the latest Landor Research Breakaway Brands study, which analyzed consumer survey data on more than 2,500 U.S. brands.

Instead of looking at a brand's size, Landor analyzed improvement in brand strength over a three-year period using a Young & Rubicam study of brand value.

"They're not the biggest in size, but they're the ones that have shown the biggest improvement," said Landor Research Global Director Mich Bergesen.

"We last year had Apple, Facebook, YouTube and Skype topping the list but this year we're seeing...Quilted Northern, Febreze, Dixie, Jockey and the like and they've done it through really classic brand-building techniques," Bergesen said.

"They've managed to extend the brand or license it or partner with another brand in a way that increases their audience appeal," Bergesen said.

Tech firms are not completely out of the top rankings, however. Amazon and one of its products, the Kindle, both made the upper end of the list.

Among low-tech names, Bergesen said that Febreze, the maker of odor-eliminating sprays, has added laundry detergents to its lineup, helping the Febreze brand capture a different type of consumer, for example.

Meanwhile Apple has fallen from Landor's top brands list.

"Our data has shown Apple's brand strength continuing to rise and rise seemingly without limit over the last many years. But this last year, for the first time, it plateaued and actually declined a little," Bergesen said. "In the post-Steve Jobs era, I think there's been a lot of speculation that it's losing its mojo," Bergesen said.

-By Althea Chang

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