Apple is once again the most valuable brand in the world, keeping its hold on the top spot for the fifth consecutive year, with Google following and slightly narrowing the gap, according to Interbrand’s annual rankings. The report indicates that nine of last year’s top 10 brands remain in the top 10 list this year, with Facebook the newest-comer on the back of an almost 50% jump in brand value.
Falling out of the top 10 was GE, which sat just outside in the 11th position despite a 3% increase in brand value.
Microsoft (+10%) and Coca-Cola (-5%) continued to move in opposite directions, with the former taking over the 3rd spot.
Another notable move within the top 10 was Amazon: with its 29% rise in brand value, it climbed three spots to crack the top 5 for the first time. If past trends hold true, it should overtake Coca-Cola for the 4th spot next year.
Not surprisingly, Facebook and Amazon enjoyed the largest gains in brand value among the top 10. Even so, a couple of other brands experienced double-digit increases: Microsoft (+10%); and Mercedes-Benz (+10%).
Three of the top 10 brands, by contrast, saw their values decline: Coca-Cola; Toyota (-6%; down 2 spots to #7); and IBM (-11%; down 4 spots to #10).
Meanwhile, new to the top 100 brands this year are: Netflix (#78); Salesforce (#84); and Ferrari (#88).
Fast-Growing Brands and Sectors
Of course, the Interbrand report isn’t limited to the top 10 brands, instead measuring the top 100 worldwide. Among those, special note must be given to Facebook, which was easily the fastest-growing. This was the second consecutive year in which its brand value increased by 48%, and it has vaulted up the rankings recently, from 15th last year, 23rd the year prior and 52nd in 2013.
This is an interesting time for Facebook, however. While its ad revenues are growing tremendously, its repeated metrics snafus and its refusal to acknowledge itself as a media owner (see: presidential election, Russian ad buys) have it in the eye not only of marketers but politicians too.
Another fast-rising company that also may come under greater governmental scrutiny: the seemingly ubiquitous Amazon, which followed up last year’s 33% growth with a 19% rise this year.
Other fast-growing brands include: Adobe (#56; up 19%); adidas (#55; up 17%); Starbucks (#60; up 16%); and Goldman Sachs (#44; up 16%). In total, 16 of the top 100 brands experienced double-digital growth this year.
These brands were characterized by a “customer and people obsession” and their “clarity and focus,” per the report’s analysts.
Finally, this year’s fastest-growing sector was Retail (+18.7% in brand value, basically matching last year’s growth), which was again represented by Amazon, eBay and IKEA.
Sporting Goods (+10.1%) enjoyed a similar rate of sector growth as last year, represented by Nike and adidas. Technology, represented by several brands, was next (+8.4%), followed by Logistics (UPS, FedEx, and DHL: +6.5%) and Financial Services (several brands; +5.8% in sum).
The full report – which contains many more analyses – is available as a PDF here.
About the Data: When determining the top 100 most valuable brands each year, Interbrand examines three key aspects that contribute to a brand’s value:
- The financial performance of the branded product and service;
- The role the brand plays in influencing customer choice; and
- The strength the brand has to command a premium price or secure earnings for the company.
Interbrand also notes that inclusion in the list requires that:
- “At least 30 percent of revenue must come from outside the brand’s home region.
- It must have a significant presence in Asia, Europe, and North America, as well as broad geographic coverage in emerging markets.
- There must be sufficient publicly available data on the brand’s financial performance.
- Economic profit must be expected to be positive over the longer term, delivering a return above the brand’s cost of capital.
- The brand must have a public profile and awareness across the major economies of the world.
These requirements – that a brand be global, visible, and relatively transparent with financial results – lead to the exclusion of some well-known brands that might otherwise be expected to appear in the ranking.