Nike most admired brand by students by a country mile

Campus Society, the UK’s largest social network for students has published a ranking of the top ten brands as voted for by the student community across the UK. Nike took the top spot with more than double the votes of its nearest rival, Apple.

In an open poll, respondents were asked to name the brands they admired most, with the top 10 comprising of:

  1. Nike
  2. Apple
  3. Adidas
  4. ASOS
  5. Zara
  6. Topshop
  7. Urban Outfitters
  8. Vans
  9. Samsung
  10. Lush

While Universities host a demographic known to be relatively environmentally conscious and politically active, nearly 9 in 10 (87%) said it’s in fact the quality of the company’s product that makes them most admire a brand. Product quality was followed by the company’s perceived innovation (34%) and ranking third was a brand’s inspiring content (33%).

This stand-out, inspiring content and the way it’s delivered are key to a brand’s placement in the students’ ranking. Nearly 1 in 5 (17%) respondents said they admire brands for championing diversity and inclusion, 13% said they must have a good environmental footprint, and 13% also said they must have a positive impact on society.

Rashid Ajami, CEO and Founder of Campus Society said: “Nike, Apple and adidas are renowned for the quality of their products, and they communicate this in compelling campaigns that resonate with a younger audience. Nike chose Colin Kaepernick as its face in 2018, after he refused to stand for the US national anthem in protest against racism and police brutality. While this trended internationally, the brand also had inspired UK-themed content, with its Nothing Beats A Londoner campaign featuring athletes, musicians and young Londoners celebrating the capital’s diversity.

“All of the top three brands have chosen to support big issues, and it’s clearly connected with the student demographic who are concerned by the same world events, and who want to be affiliated with companies personifying their same values. But all of these organisations will have to remain current if they want to hold the ranking’s top spots; managing communities of like-minded people will be integral to this.”

Sector category

Students were also asked to rank the brands that were best at communicating with them in the finance, technology, and health and beauty sectors. The top ten were:

Financial services Technology Health and beauty
Santander Apple Boots
HSBC Samsung Superdrug
Barclays Sony Nivea
Natwest Google Lush
Lloyds Bank Amazon Beauty Bay
Nationwide Microsoft The Body Shop
Halifax HP Holland & Barrett
Monzo Currys MAC
TSB Huawei L’Oréal
PayPal ASOS Dove

Over 3 in 5 (61%) respondents voting for their top financial services provider said the frequency of communication is right, with this the most popular reason a brand was chosen. Over half (53%) said they weren’t spammed with irrelevant content, and 47% said their favourite brand used the right tools to engage with them, which included social media and email.

Technology brands performed well and produced relevant content, with over half (59%) of students saying they thought it was exciting. However, under half (49%) of those answering the survey said that technology companies had got the frequency of their communication right. It’s a different story for health and beauty brands, with students most commonly selecting their favourite brand because of relevant discounts and offers (58%), with an interest in a brand delivering and producing exciting content at 46%.

Ajami continues: “The communication landscape is rapidly evolving, and the brands who get the frequency, relevance and mechanism of content delivery right will reap the benefits of better, more meaningful connections with students. The large social media platforms are not as effective as they once were in terms of content delivery or relationship-building, as students desire community-based platforms whose members, whether student or brand, are clearly talking about the same interests.

“Santander has a popular 123 Student Current Account that offers a cashback incentive and 3-year Railcard, while Boots is well-known for its all-encompassing health and beauty range that caters to every skin colour and type. Effective communication of these offers has been paramount to their placement in the sector categories. In 2019, more companies will consider brand-owned networks that allow them to speak with students directly about the issues they care about, a step away from the irrelevant content that too regularly dominates their feeds on the larger social media networks.”