Down-to-earth brands such as Chex, Puffs, Costco’s Kirkland Signature, and Bounty beat out trendy Internet brands such as Facebook, YouTube, and Google, when it comes to improving brand strength, according to the latest Landor 2014 Breakaway Brands study. Topping the list is Samsung, a leader in mobile and smartphones, but also known for big-box items such as refrigerators and washers. 

The annual study ranks US brands on their ability to successfully sustain rising brand strength over a three-year period. The 10 brands selected to the list show the greatest gains in relevance and differentiation, coupled with strong business performance, between 2010 and 2013.

“We’re seeing a resurgence of consumer appreciation for more tangible experiences,” says Mich Bergesen, global director of financial services at Landor. “While tech giants are still very strong, a more down-to-earth crop of brands has built the greatest brand momentum in the past few years.

“Another common characteristic among our leading brands is agility, meaning brands that are shaped by an ongoing conversation with consumers and employees, and more focused on relevance than consistency.”

The top 10 brands, ordered by greatest increase in brand strength, are:

1. Samsung. The only tech-related brand to make it into the top 10, the company has been successful in leveraging its brand across many categories: appliances, TVs, and mobile and smartphones.

2. Chex. Anticipating the gluten-free craze, Chex launched a seven-product extension to capture the new segment, experiencing a 10 percent sales growth.

3. Puffs. Puffs took on Kleenex by focusing on the product’s functional benefits, especially for women, emphasizing that the product’s softness.

4. Oakley. Moving away from lifestyle products and back to athletic gear clarified Oakley’s benefit to consumers, leading to a 50 percent increase in differentiation.

5. MAC. The edgy cosmetics brand saw its relevance skyrocket by creating an environment where consumers can write their own stories.

6. Keurig. Keurig expanded its foothold in the home beverage-making category, and has extended into the cold beverage market through partnerships with Coca-Cola, General Mills, and Lipton.

7. Costco’s Kirkland Signature. This product line has been able to position itself as a premium private brand.

8. Lea & Perrins. Lea & Perrins drives home that it is the “original and genuine” Worcestershire sauce. Consumers have also responded to new options such as the Marinade-in-a-Bag line.

9. Bounty. Encouraging families to “bring on the mess,” Bounty became a brand that celebrates the little moments that mothers share with their children.

10. Under Armour. Its universal tagline, I will, communicates that Under Armour is a brand for everyone. It has gone to extra lengths to attract women, introducing the I Will What I Want campaign.