Brand of the Year 2016

The official best brands of the year: 2016

Everybody loves a league table, and at Mustard we’re no different.

It’s January, and it’s time for our retrospective look back at 2016, and to officially crown our brand of the year.

Many have labelled 2016 as one of the most dispiriting years on record, with significant media attention on celebrity deaths and the negative campaigning surrounding both the EU referendum and US presidential election. From a research perspective, the pollsters did not fare particular well in the case of voter intentions for either.

Brand of the year vote 2016

Time Magazine’s man of the year – Donald Trump – remains headline news, and was the recipient of a few Mustard “brand of the year” nominations, testament to the power of the personal brand.

2016 also had its lighter moments.

A different type of poll made the news in March. It appeared there was a real possibility of a new £200 million polar research vessel being named Boaty McBoatface. This is what happens when you let the public design your surveys. McBoatface joins Spazzie McGee and Mr Splashypants as the outcomes of #pollsgonewrong.

Of course Pokémon Go made a massive splash of its own in the summer. How did Nintendo / Pokémon Go fare in our brand of the year rankings? You’ll need to scroll down to find out.

It was also a year of sporting highs, with huge successes at home and abroad – particularly in Rio. Coupled with a continued emphasis on health, fitness and wellbeing, brands including Parkrun, Fitbit, Lean in 15 and Leicester City FC received brand of the year nominations. Keep reading to see which, if any, made the final list.

Brand of the year 2016 climbing ropes

From a selfish perspective, 2016 was a year to celebrate for Mustard. There has been further strengthening of the team, and we were shortlisted for five awards (and won two). We were all absolutely thrilled to be recognised as Business of the Year (10-50 employees) at the Federation of Small Business Awards – as well as Creative & Media business of the year.

Our brand of the year countdown for 2016 is as follows:

20. Itsu

19. The Leave Campaign (Brexit)

18. Twitter

17. Uber – last year’s winner

16. Fitbit

15. Planet Earth II

14. AirBnB – down 8 places

13. John Lewis

12. Leicester City FC

11. Snapchat


The top 10 – with some thoughts from the Mustard advocates:

10. Deliveroo

“This brand is seeing continued strong growth, having found a gap in the market to serve increasingly busy and time pressured consumers with high quality food. And with promises of international expansion and lower prices to come, it looks like Deliveroo will continue to be successful in the future” (Laura)

“What is not to like? You can now get takeaways from your favourite restaurants delivered to your door. They have completely disrupted the traditional take away business model. Their cyclists and drivers have now become a familiar sight. (I do worry though that the cyclists never seem to wear helmets!). (Anthony)

9. Lean in 15

“Lean in 15 has somewhat revolutionised the dieting trend by promoting genuinely easy to make, tasty, healthy and filling meals whilst bringing attention to the important workout aspect which has historically been widely disregarded by many seeking to lose weight” (Ryan)

8. Etsy

“Allows you to have handmade personalised items made for you and you feel you’re contributing to independent businesses not big corporate giants.” (Victoria)

“It’s just such a great way to find unique, hand-made artisan goodies! You can find out a lot about the designers and their stories and you feel closer to what you are buying.” (Irina)

7. Aldi – last year’s runner-up

“Consistency is key, and I always have a good experience shopping at Aldi. Always well stocked with a good selection of products. Often have good offers on as well. I like the fast checkout, always excellent service” (David D)

“Thinking back to my high school days, if you shopped at Aldi it was something to be embarrassed about. Twenty or so years later and perceptions of the brand have done a complete U-turn and the brand goes from strength to strength. This is evidenced by the fact that they have just enjoyed record Christmas sales and have been enjoying strong growth in products aimed at upmarket consumers. They have managed to attract customers from all classes and despite being cheap they always come up near the top in product taste tests.” (Anthony)

6. Spotify  up 3 places

“Anything that isn’t allied to Apple is good in my books and I worship this music service – it’s flexible, handy and has such a range of music to choose from.” (Victoria)

“No brand knows and understands my tastes and preferences like Spotify. It continues to enable the broadening of my music horizons, and has helped facilitate countless impromptu (kids) mini-discos during the year. Finding “Ich Bin Ein Pandabar” post-Eurocamp this summer was probably the family highlight. Since November it’s been Trolls soundtrack on repeat whenever the kids are in the car.” (Richard)

5. Google – down 2 places

“Whenever, you hear of another of Google’s “madcap” ideas you think….  “what planet are they on, why on earth are they wasting their money doing that?” And then, a few years down the line, that madcap idea has become an accepted part of everyday. Google is now touching and influencing so much of our daily lives and this influence will continue to grow - robotics, driver-less cars, home control systems –where will it end?  The brand is massive and is set to be the biggest and most powerful brand – EVER” (Ian)

“The fact that the name is still the accepted term for internet searching and is in everyday usage shows how dominant the brand is” (David D)

4. Lego

“The excitement surrounding the new Batman movie, there are already clips filling up social media and it looks bloody hilarious! There is a nostalgia around it, my 32 year old brother spent £120 on the Millennium Falcon this Christmas for him to play with on Christmas day and no one else was allowed to touch it, just like when he was a child. The standalone LEGO store in the Arndale packed out before Christmas and its Danish and everyone loves anything Scandi! It’s so simple, just little plastic bricks and yet so loved!” (Amy)

“It is the one toy which, above all others, has the retained the interest of my 2 year old daughter (and keeps her quiet the longest!). It’s a brand which appeals to all ages, is a timeless classic and encourages kids to use their imaginations rather than staring at their tablets, mobiles etc. One of the very few products out there which is worth paying a few extra quid for.” (David H)

“Lego will always be a brand of the year. They consistently build on their success year on year. They’re willing to move into new territory, and great at (mini-)figuring out what consumers want. Something, something, something brick.” (Jack)

3. Instagram

“It’s all about the numbers. Grew their membership by 100 million in the second half of 2016, increasing this to 600 million active users – almost double the number using Twitter. Massive growth in advertising revenue generated as a result. It seems the world likes visual more than text… research buyers take note!” (Gareth)

“Because I’m totally addicted to it! I can follow local events, restaurants and bars, fashion bloggers, designers, friends and foodies all on the one platform. It looks great with beautiful images and it’s easy to use and upload my own stuff! It works for me in the same way Top end fashion mags used to – inspiration and information” (Amy)

2. Nintendo / Pokémon Go

“The first application of augmented reality to go mainstream, it captured the public imagination at a time when people really needed it. The news was dominated by difficult and anxiety inducing news stories, and a light hearted and addictive game that brought people together and got them outdoors was just what the doctor ordered” (Laura)

“Pokémon go was released, probably the biggest mobile game of the year, reigniting an interest in the brand for many as well as the release of Pokémon Sun & Moon which are being widely regarded as some of the best Pokémon games to come out in years” (Ryan)

“Had a great year with Pokémon Go being the most downloaded app of 2016, and then Super Mario Run being downloaded by more than 40 million people worldwide just four days into its launch in December. Coupled with demand exceeding supply for the Mini NES and the excitement surrounding the announcement of the new Switch console, Nintendo really bounced back in 2016” (Gareth)

“A global phenomenon. A 100 million users in less than a month is very impressive. Now estimated 500 million downloads. Estimated amount made in its first day $4 to $5 million. $600 in revenue and counting. The most impressive feat however could be in introducing the opportunities of augmented reality to consumers and businesses on a wider scale” (David D)

“Being of the Pokémon generation I was so excited to see it come back into the mainstream and grab people again. The way it took hold of the world was astounding and even though the hype has faded, it’ll be back with the next release, I’m sure of it” (Victoria)

“It took over the lives and lunchbreaks of so many people, OK it was short lived but it was just mental! Piccadilly Gardens was hijacked by Pokémon catchers, it was just nuts!” (Amy)

1. Amazon / Amazon Prime – up from 8th last year

“2016 was the year that Amazon’s original video content really started rivalling what Netflix offers. It was also the year when their drone delivery service Amazon Prime Air launched, as well as Alexa on Amazon Echo, Amazon Fresh. They’ve just done so much this year, and most have proven to be a great success!” (Jack)

“In a world where we expect everything to be instant and quick, Amazon are always on top of their game – they deliver products the next day through Prime, their customer support is always responsive and shows understanding and flexibility.” (Irina)

“Plus their Christmas advert was the best around and helped bridge any gaps between communities at such a difficult time after Brexit” (Hannah)

How does the Mustard list compare with your own brand experiences? Let us know through the usual channels