- Amazon retains top spot in the 2019 Brand Finance Global 500 ranking
- Netflix and iQiyi revealed as boasting the fastest growing brand values
- Ferrari reclaims title of world's strongest brand, with Sberbank following
In this year's Brand Finance Global 500 2019 report, unveiled today, Amazon has solidified its position as the world’s most valuable brand – with Microsoft and Huawei seeing significant year-on-year growth, and streaming giants Netflix and iQiyi rising rapidly up the ranks.
Last year, Amazon supplanted Google as the world’s most valuable brand, and over the past 12 months saw its value grow by a further 25% to put increase the ground ahead of second placed Apple. It caps a banner year for the Amazon, with the brand crossing the $1 trillion threshold on Wall Street for the first time in its history last year. Central to its success is its diversifying portfolio, with Brand Finance noting that “it seems no industry is safe from the threat and power of Amazon”, adding: “When the company announced a joint initiative with JPMorgan and Berkshire Hathaway, health insurance stocks – including UnitedHealthcare, Cigna, and Anthem – saw a significant loss just one day after the news hit.”
In fact, diversification is a recurring theme in a number of brand value success stories last year. For instance, Microsoft saw a 47% jump in brand value, its “transformation to a cloud-centric business model” identified as a key driver of its economic success in 2018 (when revenues increased by 17%). The takeaway? Don’t stand still – innovation and adaptation hold the keys to success. David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, reflects: “There is a reason the saying ‘do not put all your eggs in one basket’ has been around for centuries. The advice is clear: a business cannot concentrate all its efforts and resources in one area and expect to survive long-term. The brands that evolve and experiment in new sectors, like Amazon and Microsoft, are the ones who will continue to outperform competitors; while the brands that are slower to adapt or diversify will miss a key opportunity to grow brand value.”
The 20 most valuable brands (with last year’s rank in brackets) are:
Brand value ($bn)
Brand value % change (YoY)
China Construction Bank
Agricultural Bank of China
Bank of China
Last year we identified the rise of Chinese brands as a trend to watch and brand presence from the country increased to $1,307.4 billion this year, breaking the US$1 trillion mark for the first time. Almost half of the top 20 are now Chinese brands, with WeChat experiencing a 26% rise in value – its influence is reflected in the way the brand has successfully created a digital ecosystem for its 1 billion Chinese users to instant message, read, shop, hire taxis, and more.
The world’s fastest growing brand also originates in China, with online video platform iQiyi entering the Global 500 list for the first time with a brand value of $4.3 billion, up 326% on last year. The Baidu-owned platform hosts over 500 million monthly active users, illustrating the growth in demand for media content from Chinese consumers. Interestingly, the fastest-growing brand outside of China was another streaming giant, Netflix, which saw its brand jump 105% (to $21.2 billion). In the same way that online shopping is challenging traditional bricks and mortar businesses (Walmart, for instance, dropped out of the top 10 list for the first time), disruptors in the media space are clearly reaping the rewards.
An alternative measure of a brand is ‘strength’ rather than ‘value’, wherein a brand strength index (BSI) metric is used considering marketing investment, stakeholder equity, and business performance. On this alternative measure, Ferrari came out top – reclaiming a title it last held in 2014. Russia’s Sberbank registered as the second-best brand in terms of strength, while the Big Four professional services firms also achieved noteworthy performance, with three posting the same elite AAA+ brand rating as Ferrari.
The ten ‘strongest’ brands (BSI score in brackets) were:
- Ferrari (94.8)
- Sberbank (93.1)
- Deloitte (91.2)
- WeChat (90.4)
- McDonald's (90.3)
- Intel (90.3)
- Rolex (90)
- Neutrogena (89.9)
- Coca-Cola (89.9)
- PWC (89.8)
The next edition of WTR will present in-depth analysis of the Brand Finance Global 500, and the key takeaways for trademark professionals.