The story in smartphone branding this week was all about Research In Motion Ltd.'s attempt to remake its image.
But the Canadian company faces a much more competitive market – and not just from the ubiquitous competitor, Apple Inc. Another brand, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., is on the move, and presents an even bigger challenge to RIM's BlackBerry as it tries to build influence.
According to a study from Ipsos Reid, unveiled Friday, the iPhone maker ranks third among the "most influential brands" in Canada. But Samsung was one of the brands that is moving fastest up the ranks: it rose 29 spots, from No. 47 in last year's report to No. 18 this year.
The Ipsos Influence Index tracks how influential brands are with consumers. It is based on a survey of roughly 5,000 Canadians, measuring a number of factors including whether a brand makes life more interesting and is fundamental to their lives; and other things such as trustworthiness and whether it is perceived as being on the leading edge.
Most of the other results were "incredibly consistent" from year to year, Ipsos Reid president Steve Levy said. "Brands take time to establish influence."
Samsung was helped this year by advertising that got noticed, from agency 72andSunny, and sales of its Galaxy phone have been strong.
Among other fast-growing brands was Bank of Montreal, which rose in the ranks from no. 94 to no. 44.
And Google Inc. took the top spot, moving from a close second to Microsoft Corp. last year, to No. 1 with a wide margin this year.
For the second annual study this year, Ipsos expanded the survey to eight other markets in order to determing the most influential global brands – and Google took the top spot there as well. The results were unveiled at a presentation during the Institute of Communications Agencies' FFWD Advertising Week in Toronto on Friday.
"A brand's ability to generate influence is somewhat tied to the nature of the category it lives in," Mr. Levy said. "A brand that touches you every day – you Google stuff every day – has a greater chance to influence you than a car company, for example."
The top 10 most influential brands in Canada, according to the index, are:
1. Google (Change in rank from last year: +1 spot)
2. Microsoft (-1 spot)
3. Apple (+1 spot)
4. Facebook (+3)
5. Wal-Mart (no change)
6. Visa (+2)
7. YouTube (owned by Google Inc., up +2)
8. Tim Hortons (+7)
9. AirMiles (+2)
10. CBC (– 4)