Most Connected Brands – Cadbury (3rd)

The sweet taste of success

For the second year in a row, Cadbury maintains its spot in the rankings at number three. Not only is Cadbury one of Britain’s most well-known brands, it’s also one of the nation’s oldest – first established in 1824. And although taken over by Mondelez International in 2010, it has managed to retain its British headquarters (and its decidedly British disposition). For nearly 200 years, Cadbury has been inventing, inspiring and investing in a nation of chocolate lovers and its brand is as strong today as it has ever been.

Cadbury’s ranking is due to a strong performance in Prominence and Emotion – it is a brand with a big presence and strong emotional ties to sweet-toothed consumers who implicitly associate it with fond memories of treats and pickme-ups. One of the most loved brands in our Index, Cadbury is also ranked first in the food and drink brand category, ahead of the likes of Walkers, Heinz and Kellogg’s, which is impressive in a category that is generally highly connected to consumers. Not only is Cadbury seen as a brand that ‘belongs’ and is ‘comforting’, but consumers agree it’s a brand that ‘makes you smile’. This is the strongest relative perception for Cadbury and earns it the top spot on this measure, over indexing by 132%. Meanwhile its distinctive purple colour and font means it also ticks another box – being perceived as ‘iconic brand’ by the public.

While these associations have most definitely contributed to the result, Cadbury’s continuous heart-warming advertising has too. Cadbury has stayed at the forefront of consumer minds thanks to a constant stream of memorable marketing efforts that have spanned from their first TV advert in 1955 to the iconic gorilla drumming advert in 2007 and the more recent ‘mum’s birthday’ advert in 2018 when it decided to ditch its ‘Free the Joy’ tagline in favour of a focus on kindness. With consumers increasingly connecting with brands that have an emotional bond, Cadbury’s embrace of a more sentimental theme of generosity in its advertising seems to have hit the spot.

Cadbury’s score for social responsibility has stayed roughly the same as 2019 but, compared to the other brands in the top five, it comes second. The brand’s ‘donate your words’ campaign may have helped this when, towards the end of 2019, Cadbury partnered with Age UK to help combat loneliness in older people. The proceeds from the limited edition Dairy Milk chocolate bar help to fund crucial services and care to those who need it most. Never has the ability to help people feel less lonely been so important than right now during lockdown, especially with the elderly. This has, without a doubt, resonated strongly with consumers, particularly during a time of panic and uncertainty.

So, what does 2020 hold for the chocolate giant?

Well, Cadbury is getting a fresh new look and changing its tone of voice to reinforce the idea of the brand as natural, authentic and high quality with packaging is expected to highlight the brand’s commitment to working with sustainable sources through partnerships with cocoa farmers in its Cocoa Life sustainability programme. Whilst this new brand identity won’t arrive in the UK until early next year, it will be interesting to see whether this influences consumers’ views of not only the brand’s social responsibility, but their overall connection to Cadbury.

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