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Study: Book retailer shows brand strength


A familiar chain has been named the most powerful retail brand of 2016.

According to the 2016 Top 100 Most Powerful Brands report from brand marketing firm Tenet Partners, Barnes & Nobile is the most powerful retail brand, and 32nd most powerful brand overall, of the year. This is the second straight year Barnes & Noble ranked highest among retailers.

The book chain received high marks for its marketing efforts, including a new slogan and creative advertising featuring Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga. Barnes & Noble was also recognized for separating its Barnes & Noble Education college business from its main retail business and offsetting declining sales and growth from store closures with continued stabilization of physical book sales growth in the educational toys and gift departments.

Tenet also said Barnes & Noble’s familiarity rating is at its highest point since 2010 and although its favorability rating remained constant year-over-year, it declined 4.7 points during a six-year period.

Tenet’s Top 100 Most Powerful Brands are ranked in corresponding order by a measure of BrandPower – a single indicator of brand strength that examines a brand’s reputation in the marketplace and its ability impact business performance.

Retail is the most represented category among the Top 100 Brands, with 13 companies hailing from the category. In addition to Barnes & Noble, other retailers on the list include Target (#45), Lowe’s (#48), Walmart (#53), Gap (#55), Home Depot (#56), Bed Bath & Beyond (#61), J.C. Penney (#72), Kohl’s (#75), Best Buy (#87), Costco Wholesale (#88), Macy’s (#95), and Tiffany & Co. (#96).

However, just five out of the 13 retail brands ranked “improved” on BrandPower year-over-year: Macy’s (#95, +12), Best Buy (#87, +4), J.C. Penney (#72, +3), Walmart (#53, +2) and Costco Wholesale (#88, +2). Steepest decliners year-over-year include: Lowe’s (#48, -5), Bed, Bath & Beyond (#61, -4), Tiffany & Co. (#96, -4), Barnes & Noble (#32, -3), Gap (#55, -3), Home Depot (#56, -3), and Kohl’s (#75, -3).

Macy’s managed to move up 12 spots from 2015 and 93 spots from 2011, and earn a spot on the top 100 list, by creating special events that enhance the customer experience. The department store chain was also credited for being an early adopter of Google Wallet and Apple Pay, as well as for offering integrated store, online and mobile applications. In addition, Macy’s received kudos for adopting the Shopkick location-based marketing app.

To create the ranking, Tenet surveys participants from the top 20% of corporations in the U.S. (based on revenue) on two key metrics: familiarity and favorability. Familiarity measures awareness of the brand. Respondents are considered to be familiar with a brand if they state they know more than just the company name. Favorability measures the perception of the brand, based on how it performs across three attributes, including overall reputation, perception of management, and investment potential.

These quantitative metrics, familiarity and favorability, are then combined into a composite score called BrandPower.

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