Trevor Little

The latest version of the Brand Finance Global 500, which identifies and ranks the world’s most valuable brands, has seen Google take the number one spot, with Apple dropping to second place after a five year stint at the top. Despite a substantial jump in its brand value, Amazon.com remains in third place.

Apple has been top of the list since 2012, as its dominance in the smartphone and tablet sector helped it consistently grow in brand value. But this year Brand Finance reports a 27% fall in brand value. Amongst the factors it considered when making its assessment was a perceived over-exploitation of the goodwill of customers, with other tech brands playing catch-up in the competitive technology sector. Crucially, a number of Chinese brands have strengthened their position in the smartphone market, further denting Apple’s supremacy.

In the forthcoming edition of World Trademark Review we will bring exclusive in-depth analysis of the list and the key drivers of value over the past year. A key trend across the 500 brands that made the list is the strengthening of a number of technology brands. Considering Google’s victory in regaining the top spot after a six year absence, Brand Finance’s analysts note that the company has carefully built up its brand equity despite its overall brand architecture being more complicated than Apple’s. Amazon rounds off a competitive top three, having seen its brand growth leap 53% year on year (YoY). Meanwhile Facebook posted an even more impressive annual growth, its 82% rise in brand value propelling it into the top ten. Even this, though, can’t match Tencent’s 95% YoY improvement, which saw it jump 70 places on the overall list. Other Chinese tech brands that saw significant jumps in value were WeChat (103%), Alibaba (94%), JD.com (46%) and Huawei (28%).

The 20 most valuable brands (with last year’s rank in brackets) were:

Rank

Brand

Brand value 2017 ($m)

Brand value % change (YoY)

1 (2)

Google

109,470

24%

2 (1)

Apple

107,141

-27%

3 (3)

Amazon.com

106,396

53%

4 (6)

AT&T

87,016

45%

5 (4)

Microsoft

76,265

13%

6 (7)

Samsung Group

66,219

13%

7 (5)

Verizon

65,875

4%

8 (8)

Walmart

62,211

16%

9 (17)

Facebook

61,998

82%

10 (13)

ICBC

47,832

32%

11 (9)

China Mobile

46,734

-6%

12 (11)

Toyota

46,255

7%

13 (10)

Wells Fargo

41,618

-6%

14 (14)

China Construction Bank

41,377

17%

15 (22)

NTT Group

40,542

28%

16 (12)

McDonald’s

38,966

-9%

17 (15)

BMW

37,124

6%

18 (23)

Shell

36,783

16%

19 (18)

T (Deutsche Telekom)

36,433

10%

20 (21)

IBM

36,112

14%


Away from the most valuable list, an alternative perspective on brands is to look at their ‘power’, and to this end Brand Finance’s Brand Strength Index (BSI) scores attributes such familiarity, loyalty, promotion, marketing investment, staff satisfaction and corporate reputation, which are then benchmarked against industry competitors. Last year Disney – boosted by its acquisition of Lucasfilm – replaced Lego as the most powerful brand. This year, Lego is back on top, with canny collaborations and licensing deals (such as the team-up with Warner and DC to bring the Lego Batman Movie to cinema screens) contributing significantly to both Lego’s licensing income and brand affinity amongst diverse groups of consumers. Rounding out the top five are Google, Nike, Ferrari and Visa.

Not all trademark counsel are in a position to undertake formal valuation assessments, but for those protecting and enabling commercialisation around the brands featured on the top 500 list, today’s publication provides a useful tool in their efforts to increase their understanding of the legal function’s work and value – after all, they protect the very assets which underpin economic performance and can represent significant percentages of overall enterprise value.

Speaking at the 2016 Managing the Asset Lifecycle event in New York, Patrick Flaherty, intellectual property and internet law attorney at Verizon Communications, specifically highlighted the role such lists can be wielded: “The brand has tremendous value to us and, while it doesn’t impact our transactional work, we certainly keep track of third-party valuations and awards for internal reporting purposes.”  

As we noted then, for the companies that appear on such tables, this type of recognition allows an important message to be conveyed to internal stakeholders – that trademark maintenance and protection is not just a company cost, but is directly contributing to brand value.

David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, will be a speaker at the upcoming Managing the Trademark Asset Lifecycle Europe event, held in Munich on March 23. Haigh will feature in a session exploring the practical payback of brand valuation and how companies can both conduct and wield the results of valuation exercises. Details of the programme are available here and readers of this blog can use the code WTRBLOG to receive a 10% discount on the registration fee. To register for the event, click here.

Channels

Comments

Please log in or register to leave a comment.

There are no comments on this article

Share this article