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The 2011 FamilyBrands report conducted by ad agency Isobel in association with YouGov identifies brands that promote and support family values.

The FamilyBrands survey that polled over 1500 adults in October 2011, asks GB adults (18+ and representative of the adult population) to identify brands against a number of attributes associated with 'family' including 'socially responsible', 'caring' and 'good listeners'. Now in its third year, the 2011 study has seen a dramatic shift in fortunes for many of the UK’s leading brands.

• M&S rises 5 places and knocks Boots off the top spot to become the UK’s top family brand 2011.
• Tesco, the UK’s biggest supermarket, drops 7 places and out of the top 20 for the first time.
• Innocent and John Lewis rise up through the ranks to make their top ten debut.
• High-flying BA rises 23 places to take the mantle from Virgin Atlantic as the UK’s top family airline.
• Twitter, the microblog social media site shows signs of becoming a family favourite rising 10 places whilst Facebook falls out of favour dropping16 places.
• Ryanair is voted one of the ‘worst’ family brands with only 1% identifying the LCC as ‘good listeners’.
• News International titles, The Sun and The Times suffer the phone hacking backlash dropping 20 and 23 places respectively compared to last year.
• McDonald’s, the fast-food giant makes a huge leap to becoming a family brand rising an impressive 20 places to 50th.
• Labour takes the family vote whilst the Coalition fails to impress with only 3% identifying the political hybrid as ‘caring’.

Steve Hastings, Planning Partner, Isobel comments:

“Now three years in to our FamilyBrands survey we are seeing a clear pattern emerging with Britain's favourite family brands being identified year-after-year. We believe in harder times people fall back on brands they trust, brands they are familiar with and brands they feel at home with. That's why some brands this year have fallen sharply – people feel they have abused their trust (e.g. Conlib coalition, the News International titles). At the same time we are open to new ideas and want to be surprised and delighted by new ideas – especially those relevant to day-to-day family life. Hence we see a refreshed McDonald’s rising up, as well as Innocent doing well with their wider product range and bigger advertising spend.”

Mixed fortunes for the social media giants

Facebook, the US based social media giant which is fast approaching 1 billion users is failing to make an impression with the UK population as a family brand. The social media site which recently revealed that computer hackers attempt to break into 600,000 Facebook accounts every day dropped 16 places in the 2011 FamilyBrands study from 43rd to 59th. The study can also reveal that 4% of those surveyed consider Facebook to be ‘good listeners’ with only 2% citing the social media brand as ‘promoting and supporting family values’. Interestingly, the survey shows that men consider Facebook to be more of a family brand than women ranking it 51st overall compared to women who voted it into 63rd place.

Amber Faulkner, Digital Integration Director, Isobel comments: “It will come as no surprise to many that Facebook has fallen down the rankings, given the recent consumer backlash against unwelcome revamps and growing privacy concerns. Whilst most of us joined the social behemoth to connect with family and friends, reports of misuse of data, a lack of communication regarding changes to the site and a steady infiltration of brands using it as a marketing channel mean that, for many, Facebook is losing its original purpose: the user feels like they are being used.

Facebook usage continues to grow and it will remain, for many, the number one social network. But whilst Facebook may never have intended to be known for its family values, diminishing user confidence and trust has to be a concern for them.”
Twitter, however, is the only one of the three social media giants surveyed to make positive steps. The microblog site which has an estimated 100 million active users generating in excess of 250 million tweets per day, rose 10 places from 92nd to 82nd, indicating that the UK population is beginning to embrace the social media site as a family brand. Twitter’s strongest showing was in the ‘good listeners’ category, moving up an impressive 12 places from 68th to 56th and ranking higher than Vodafone (58th), the ConLib Coalition (62nd) and The Times (69th). Consistent with Facebook, the research shows that men consider Twitter to be family-friendly, ranking it 61st overall, whereas women are failing to embrace the microblog site as a family brand, ranking it 95= overall.
Amber Faulkner says: “Twitter still falls behind Facebook and Google in the list of family value brands, but it is beginning to close the gap as consumers increasingly see and appreciate the value in it. Never mind connecting users to family and friends, Twitter brings them closer to the famous and infamous with a constant stream of gossip, news and opinion.

UK consumers are increasingly seeing a role in their lives for Twitter, and as the social network has pledged to make itself more useful for the average person, and become more mainstream as a result, it will be an interesting one to watch.”

BA – Flying High…

British Airways, which has recently launched its biggest ad campaign in 11 years, is one of the year’s biggest risers moving up 23 places to 37th to become the UK’s top family airline. Virgin Atlantic which has been voted top family airline for the previous two years takes second place having moved up 3 places to 41st. The battle of the LCC’s, which is being contested at the bottom end of the table, is currently being won by Easyjet who moved up one place to 99th overall. Easyjet was also one of the biggest climbers in the ‘brands that support and promote family values’ category, rising an impressive 20 places to 76th – ahead of Barclays (80th); Costa Coffee (83rd) and Peugeot (85th).

Ryanair, the family-owned LCC, is for the third year running the worst family airline studied. The Irish airline, which recently made headlines with its ‘one toilet per aircraft’ proposal, has done little to endear itself to the British public, dropping two places from 104th to 106th. The FamilyBrands study can reveal that only 1% of all respondents polled believe Ryanair to be either ‘good listeners’ or ‘caring’.

Steve Hastings says “British Airways has emerged stronger after its widely publicised industrial troubles, and is probably a beneficiary of renewed national pride in the year of the Olympics. Also BA continues to offer a markedly better experience than the LCC on like -for – like routes, and for many is the preferred choice if the fares are reasonable. Ryanair has never done well as a family brand but should not expect to. The brand's offer is low-cost a to b transport and does not pretend to be particularly caring or consumer-responsive – it's an honest formula that works”

Tesco fail to win the family vote but retail is the best performing category

The UK’s biggest supermarket chain continues to drop down the FamilyBrands ranking. Placed 13th overall in 2009, the supermarket giant dropped 4 places last year to 17th and this year drops a further 7 places to 24th - and out of the top 20 for the first time. Tesco polled the fewest votes of the UK’s ‘power’ supermarkets with Co-op leading the charge (4th overall) followed by Waitrose (7th), Sainsbury’s (14th), Morrisons (18th) and Asda (19th). However, whilst Tesco dropped down the rankings in the ‘socially responsible’ ‘caring’ and ‘promoting and supporting family values’ categories, the supermarket brand is considered the UK’s 8th best ‘good listener’ – moving up five places to 8th overall.

Tesco was only one of seven brands in this year’s study which saw men and women agree on the ranking.

Steve Hastings comments: “Tesco did very well in the first study (2009) as the people's price fighting champion. However all retailers are, in their own way, claiming this position and some have been discredited as misleading consumer's over the extent of the real price drops. And with advertising that hammers home the price message but lacks Tesco's playful humour, the brand appears to have lost some of its shine.”

Retail was the best performing brand category overall with five brands in the top 10.

John Lewis – the brand we would most like to be a member of our family

John Lewis, the popular retailer that is ‘Never Knowingly Undersold’ has cemented its position as a family-favourite brand by rising 6 places and making it into the FamilyBrands top 10 at 6th for the first time. The retail store, which was established in 1864, was also cited as the brand we would most like to be a member of our family. John Lewis is also considered to be one of the UK’s best listening brands, polling 2nd place in the ‘good listeners’ category for a second year running.

Top 10 FamilyBrands 2011
M&S 1
Boots 2
Fairy 3
Co-op 4
Innocent 5
John Lewis6
Waitrose 7
Hovis 8
BBC1 9
BBC2 10

Notes to editors: All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1511 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between the 4th and the 6th of October 2011. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

Contact: Chris Rickwood e: m: 07775 945 913

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