“As one of the great brands in the world, Toyota is justifiably proud of being ranked the number one automotive company in The Sunday Times Top Brands Survey for 2012,” said Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Calvyn Hamman.

Toyota South Africa

Hamman attributed this most recent accolade to the fact that Toyota’s brand message is very clear: “Despite being in a highly competitive environment, our brand awareness is at an all-time high. And, while Toyota is still renowned for reliability and value, our latest product offerings in the form of the Yaris HSD and the immensely exciting 86 sports car have leveraged the brand’s technology and ‘coolness’ in a way that has helped Toyota create competitive differentiation.”

Research confirms that it is challenging to get the formula right; cutting-edge innovation has to be tempered with approachableness and warmth.

“You can have the best advertising campaign in the world, but it’s got to go hand in hand with service delivery. Our motto at Toyota – whether at head office or dealer level – is to create customer smiles. Clearly, South Africa’s top automotive brand has got the balance spot on,” says Hamman.

About the Sunday Times Top Brands Awards

The Sunday Times Top Brands Awards is an annual event. This year, it took place at a glittering ceremony at Urban Tree in Kramerville. The survey is commissioned by Avusa Media and conducted by TNS. More than 400 of South Africa’s most influential senior business people were interviewed, as well as 3500 consumers over the age of 18.

The results reveal a general trend that, in many instances, category usage has increased significantly from last year, with consumer optimism emerging from the recessionary mindset. Neil Higgs, senior adviser and head of innovation at TNS South Africa, said that the company’s consumer confidence measure shows that South Africans were relatively bullish regarding the first quarter of the year, “with consumers willing to spend more on luxury goods such as cars, sports clothing and cosmetics.”

The survey evaluated overall brand familiarity, user experience, non-user perception, and actual brand presence in the South African market. The combined results of these aspects delivered the winning brands in 38 consumer categories, and 13 business sector categories.