Household brand names Quilted Northern, Jockey and Dawn, employing a mix of traditional and digital marketing strategies, beat out trendsetting technology brands in Landor’s 2013 Breakaway Brands Study, analyzes data from Young & Rubicam Group’s proprietary BrandAsset Valuator, to identify top brands based on successfully sustaining growth in brand strength over a three-year period.

The only brand born in the digital era to make the top ten is Amazon, along with its Kindle sub-brand, while Apple fell off the list entirely. 

“Venerable household brands topped this year’s list through excellence in classic marketing strategies that have powered winning brands for decades,” says Mich Bergesen, global director of financial services at Landor, who led the research study. “They certainly included 21st century tactics like digital and social in the execution, but it was smart, fundamental market strategy built on these brands’ core strengths that made the difference.”
According to Landor, key elements responsible for helping brands sustain long-term growth include:
• Insightful market research: At the top of Landor’s Breakaway Brands list, Quilted Northern began its road to success in 2008 when the brand launched its 3-ply Ultra Plush toilet paper in response to market research that showed that affluent women over 45 years of age were willing to pay more for cleanliness.  Its scores jumped more than 1000 percent between 2009 and 2012.
• Smart innovation and product extensions. Number two ranked Jockey introduced its Staycool technology and the antimicrobial Jockey Sport line. Dixie (#7) expanded beyond paper cups to a super strong line of disposable products called Dixie Ultra. Febreze (#6) launched Febreze Sport and Febreze Sleep Serenity. While it was once just a burritos and taquitos line, Jose Ole (#8) now offers almost everything you’d find in a Mexican restaurant. The oldest brand on the list, Thomas’ (#9), known for its English muffin, now makes bagel thins and pitas. Lego (#10) targeted girls with its Lego Friends line.
• Demonstrating social responsibility. In the aftermath of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, Dawn (#3) used its soap to clean affected animals. This year, it used TV advertising and launched a series of YouTube videos about how Dawn is used in oil cleanup efforts that featured Rob Lowe’s narration and compelling footage of animals—winning over the hearts of more consumers.
• Targeted engagement. Amazon’s (#4) Amazon Prime program delivers highly relevant and valuable perks to repeat customers. Jockey’s Twitter campaign encourages users to hashtag their workout updates with #everydayathlete.

According to Hayes Roth, chief marketing officer of Landor, “Customer interaction and personal involvement with a brand and its products remains the most compelling determinant of real brand power. Brands that truly understand their customers’ needs and satisfy them in distinctive and engaging ways win big and win consistently, as this year’s study again bears out.”

In addition to the ten breakaway brands, Landor chose five brands for its 2013 “Watch List.”  Included are last year’s ranked Apple and Keurig, in addition to Reynolds Wrap, Microsoft Windows, and Ford Sync. The “Watch List” brands have shown exceptional brand strength in the past years, but now face uncertainty in the long-term.