The Most Recommended Brands 2013

Fueling Growth Through Word of Mouth

By Steve KnoxVictor Sánchez-RodríguezJody Visser, and Pedro Esquivias

BCG’s new Brand Advocacy Index (BAI) shines a spotlight on the companies that have achieved the pinnacle of word-of-mouth recommendations—“brand advocacy.”

Fueling Growth Through Word of Mouth

To understand where companies stand, we surveyed more than 32,000 consumers in France, Germany, Spain, the U.K., and the U.S. For a list of the brands that respondents recommended most, selected from five diverse product categories in these countries, see the exhibit below. These survey findings are comparable across countries, because, unlike other metrics, BAI asks questions about actual behavior, eliminating the influence of cultural differences.

The results highlight pockets of superb performance across markets. For example, nonluxury automobiles have an industry average BAI score of 50 percent, well above average levels in other industries. Brands such as Volkswagen perform well across multiple countries. However, we have noticed that, in many cases, the biggest brands do not score the highest on advocacy in a market. Consider grocery retailers or retail banks: the top three most recommended brands do not always include those from the largest companies. In addition, some brands make it to the list owing to specific drivers of advocacy that matter more in a market. For example, on the basis of its high value for money, Czech carmaker Skoda ranks the highest in Germany on advocacy even though it is not a German brand.