The Four Principles of Brand Relevance

Our relevance research uncovers the primary drivers of brand fandom, offering insights into what makes us buy.

Today’s consumers are experts at ignoring the tens of thousands of brands that don’t interest them. But for their favorites, their loyalty knows no bounds. These brand favorites earn and re-earn loyalty by doing something others don’t: They continuously find new ways to connect, engage and inspire their customers.

What makes these rare brands—brand stalwarts like Apple, to emerging favorites like Spotify—stand out from their competition? They are what we at Prophet like to call relentlessly relevant.

Defining Brand Relevance

At Prophet, we believe that relevance is the most reliable indicator of a brand’s long-term success. We created our Brand Relevance Index to help business and brand leaders measure the relevance of their brands, and offer them ways to improve. Four key principles of relentlessly relevant brands were identified. The brands that ranked highest for each principle in our Index are highlighted in this graphic:

1. Customer Obsession

To build a relentlessly relevant brand, you must begin by adopting a mindset of customer obsession. This requires the brand strategist to truly focus on a greater customer understanding. This involves not only the customers’ wants but also an understanding of more than just a narrow bit of these customers’ lives. Everything these brands invest in, create and bring to market are designed to meet important needs in peoples’ lives.

2. Ruthless Pragmatism

Pragmatism is the most important piece of this puzzle. It’s the one that most marketers find extremely difficult, but it’s essential because it makes the other three possible. When a brand has pragmatism, it takes bold steps, makes smart bets, fails quickly, and experiments often. These brands make sure their products are available where and when customers need them, deliver consistent experiences, and simply make life easier for their customers.

3. Pervasive Innovation

These brands are obsessed with what their competition is doing and what their customers are yearning for. They know without innovation—their organizations won’t be able to grow and thrive. These brands make emotional connections, earn trust and often exist to fulfill a larger purpose.

4. Distinctive Inspiration

Companies love to throw around the word “Inspiration” to describe their businesses and brands, although most businesses and brands are unfortunately not inspired, or inspiring to customers. These brands don’t rest in their laurels. Even as industry leaders—they push the status quo, engage with customer in new and creative ways, and find new ways to address unmet needs.


Staying relevant in today’s market can be very difficult—with so many competitors, it takes a lot to stand out to consumers.

Learn more about how to build relevance and impact consumers’ attitudes towards your brand.