By Adam Fraser
Millward Brown and WPP have published their 2016 BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands ranking and report. The annual report is now in its 11th year and provides great insight on the value of global brands across 14 categories.
In an era of rapid change and massive disruption across almost the entire economy, my initial expectation may have been to see a steady decline in brand values as new upstarts nip at the heels of their established contemporaries.
The top 100 brands are now worth US$3.4 trillion and have risen 133% over the past 11 years despite a global financial crisis, resource price volatility, economic headwinds and massive change. The rise in the current year was a more subdued 3% but the absolute trend remains one of growing values.
The report asserts that brand value growth is not just a point of academic interest, but that it is important for the global economy as it correlates with business success and higher shareholder returns. Importantly for marketers the report outlines 2 key factors in building a strong brand – Brand Purpose (standing for something more than making money) and Brand Experience.
Brands that grew in the face of disruption exhibited 3 key trends:
• Disrupt before being disrupted: the 3 fastest growing brands (Amazon, Starbucks and Facebook) each began as a category disruptor but then continued to disrupt once established
• They excelled in social media and digital
• They expressed a clear and consistent brand purpose.
The top 10 most valuable brands are as follows ($US):
1. Google $229bn
2. Apple $228bn
3. Microsoft $122bn
4. AT&T $107bn
5. Facebook $102bn
6. VISA $101bn
7. Amazon $99bn
8. Verizon $93bn
9. McDonalds $89bn
10. IBM $86bn
Interesting to note 5 of the top 10 are in the technology sector (Amazon is listed in retail, but arguably is also a tech business).
Notable other items were Marlboro still featuring in 12th at $84bn (given health trends, somewhat of a surprise to still see a smoking brand so high), Coke at $80bn in 13th (many would have expected to see in Top 10) and Nike down in 24th valued at $37bn. LinkedIn ranks 85th with a value of $12bn.
Australian brands in the top 100 were CBA (64th, $16bn), ANZ (77th, $13bn) and Telstra (78th, 13bn).
The most valuable car brand is Toyota at $29bn, luxury brand is Louis Vuitton at $28bn, global bank brand is HSBC at $20bn beer brand is Budweiser at $15bn.
I particularly liked a take out from one piece of analysis “In the new normal of persistent disruption only brand differentiates”. For brand you could substitute “customer experience” but the sentiment rings true.
An incredibly comprehensive piece of research at 141 pages, jammed with context, thought leadership, demographic insights and sector analysis. Highly recommend and a fantastic reference resource.