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Brand Search Index: Brand labels and third-party retailers in brand-name search

Most brand websites enjoy top placement in results for a Google search of their own name, suggests a new Top500 analysis of results for 50 of the largest UK brands. The analysed brands are both wholesalers of their labelled products and, through their retail operations, competitors with their wholesale clients for the custom of the end consumer.

Some brands’ social media profiles and even Wikipedia articles, ranked above rival retailers, reveals the Top500 study conducted in collaboration with FoundIt . Moreover, some retailers have managed to rank in the top 10 results in searches for several of the UK’s most sought-after brands.

Several questions are raised by the analysis. First, which brands, from the perspective of search results, have vertically integrated to the point that their retail experience is a significant part of their brand’s desirability? And second, which retailers are competing successfully with (several) own-name brands; with customers preferring their retail proposition to that of the brand itself?

Larger retailers such as House of Fraser , Asos , and John Lewis ranked highest of the third-party retailers, obtaining first-five placements in the search results for major high street fashion brands that included Dorothy Perkins, Adidas, Nike, Estée Lauder, French Connection, and Mango.

Four of the top ten search results for the average consumer electronics brand name consisted of informative websites, including Wikipedia, store locators, review blogs, and websites for shopping centres, while one in four was a retail website, either belonging to the brand being searched for or another retailer.

Half of the results for fashion brands were for third-party retail websites but the brands themselves tended to be most prominent. Clothing retailers like GAP , Topman , Topshop , and T. M. Lewin had first page rankings with several of their own websites on top followed by their social media profiles, while other fashion brands like Accessorize, Evans and Monsoon mainly occupied the top five spots in the Google search engine with their own websites.

All 50 brands used different social media platforms to create online visibility and to make customers aware of their products. Brand name searches for consumer electronics and fashion brands were similarly populated with social media results, at an average of two of the top 10 results.

Facebook was the most prominent social media result in the average brand’s first five Google page results, followed by Twitter and then Instagram. Our analysis shows that some brands’ extensive use of popular social media networks increases the proportion of results consumers will see where content is controlled by the brand, while a search for brands that don’t maintain a vociferous social media presence results in a greater number of third-party retailers occupying a prominent position.

About the Product and Merchandising Tracker

InternetRetailing partners with FoundIt! to analyse the performance of brands’ search results. We seek to understand and describe the dynamic relationship between third-party retailers and the brands they sell. While retailers and brands need each other, they also compete as separate retail destinations for the end consumer, with separate strategies and offerings that appeal to different demographics.

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