Top 50 Romanian Brands 2013 – Another Interpretation

“The ranking is based on a study done by the research company Unlock Market Research for Biz magazine and was released on Wednesday, the 11th of September, at the BrandRo conference.” Source: Biz.

1. Borsec
2. Dorna
3. LaDorna
4. Gerovital
5. Plafar
7. Napolact
8. Cris-Tim
9. Scandia Sibiu
10. ZuZu
11. Pate Bucegi
12. Poiana
13. Elmiplant
14. Fares
15. Farmec
16. Covalact
17. Petrom
18. Perla Harghitei
19. Aqua Carpatica
20. Izvorul Minunilor
21. Caroli
22. Kandia
23. Delaco
24. BRD
25. ROM Autentic
26. Frutti Fresh
27. BCR
28. Biborțeni
29. Primola
30. Doina
31. Banca Transilvania
32. Arctic
33. Romtelecom
34. Albalact
35. Dacia
36. Eugenia
37. Tarom
38. Dedeman
39. EMAG
40. Cec Bank
41. Măgura
42. Domo
43. Murfatlar
44. Cotnari
45. Ursus
46. Jidvei
47. Laura
48. Timișoreana
49. RoStar
50. Bergenbier

First of all, it is very difficult to challenge this ranking and its veracity – this is the devil’s advocate in me talking – therefore I take it as it is, being the only one of its kind in Romania.

It can be seen that:

1. Out of these top 50, almost 50% are brands that have a long “communist” history behind them, these are brands with deep roots in the collective subconscious, since the time when there was no such thing as a brand, only products with a name and a label or some random packaging. Thus, it can be certainly said that these brands are appreciated due to their history and, in the case of some of them, due to product improvements and aggressive advertising, meant to reposition them from “past” to “present”. However, they actually still exist due to the fact they bring back memories for consumers.

2. The economic environment has not been strong enough in the last 20 years to generate new products and services that are ahead of these “historic” ones. Interestingly, those of us who lived and experienced the times before ’89 know all about their poor quality; and yet they make us feel nostalgic.

3. Services are very poorly represented, only 7 out of the 50 brands fall within this type of business.

4. An observation intended exclusively for Borsec: I think it is the only brand of bottled mineral water that would still keep its consumers no matter what they would do with the label or the packaging. They would only lose their clients if they bottled cloudy water.

5. I think the only real brands on this top 50 list are Borsec and Ursus, possibly Murfatlar. All three have deep and almost indestructible roots. Dorna deserves a special mention in this particular context – it is an appreciated brand; it is well articulated and it has grown despite a great temporal-historical disadvantage compared to its rival Borsec.

6. I believe EMAG and DOMO need a special mention for their precariousness. They are not brands, they are a kind of “commodity”. If another similar online sales site appeared tomorrow, but with prices 25% lower, EMAG and DOMO would quickly disappear. When it comes to this kind of business, consumers are opportunistic, they migrate immediately depending on the prices. In reality, it isn’t possible for this type of business to create defining elements / advantages / emotional perceptions that the consumer can feel attached to.

7. CEC – I can’t call it CEC Bank, it seems artificial to me due to its position, still deeply anchored in the collective mentality of savings and consignments for the population, a perception which is difficult to demolish. It seems to me that this is a good example of a service business that only still exists on the market due to the State, therefore it is difficult to say if it really is a brand and if it is on this ranking list due to its historical roots. In this case, it would be worth discussing the extent to which a state business is or is not a real brand.

8. DERO, another “former communist mammoth”. Those who work in marketing know that a detergent quickly and greatly loses its notoriety and its sales drop when it is no longer aggressively promoted on television. In the mind of the consumer, detergents are somewhat associated with the basic products needed in a house, such as flour, sugar, oil, salt, etc. Let us remember that DERO was the only detergent on the market until ‘89, an enviable position.

9. Gerovital and Farmec boast the same “historical” position and advantages as Borsec and DERO.

10. Local pride: out of 50 brands, 5 of them are from Cluj, that means 10% of them, and 22 are from Transylvania or have initially originated from here, which accounts for 44%.