Next has been at the forefront of high-street fashion for many years and is perceived as one of the strongest brands in its sector. However, with the high street in a delicate state since the onslaught of a harsh recession, many clothing brands have suffered.
Despite the tough trading environment, the indicator score for Next has improved, due in part to the company's new ad campaign, which launched on 12 September to promote the brand's autumn fashion range.
In the ad, models present Next's new range on the streets of a retro-looking New York. As one of the models emerges from the subway, her image appears on the front of the latest Next catalogue, which is projected onto a building. The ad finishes by showing the company logo and website.
Since the ad first aired, the overall index score for Next has increased two points. This rise has been driven by an improvement in the majority of indicator scores for the brand - most notably its corporate score, which has demonstrated an impressive uplift of six points, peaking at +18 on 25 September. It is also noteworthy that Next has managed to increase its quality and value- for-money scores simultaneously, with both rising four points to peak at +27 and +20 respectively.
The double lift is impressive, as one measure is typically compromised by the other. For example, respondents often find it hard to believe that brands can offer high- quality products or services while representing good value for money.
This can be put into context by comparing Next's index to Debenhams' rating. At the start of 2009, Debenhams had a score of +26, while Next's was +18.
By 29 September, Debenhams' index score had dipped to +25, while Next's index score had risen to +21.
In other words, Next's new campaign has halved the gap between itself and its closest rival, putting it in a strong position in the build-up to the festive period.
By Richard Wood