The Brand Finance Global 500 is an annual study conducted by leading brand valuation consultancy Brand Finance. The world’s biggest brands are put to the test and evaluated to determine which are the most powerful and most valuable.
Ferrari is the world’s most powerful brand. The legendary Italian carmaker scores highly on a wide variety of measures on Brand Finance’s Brand Strength Index, from desirability, loyalty and consumer sentiment to visual identity, online presence and employee satisfaction. Ferrari is one of only eleven brands (including Google, Hermès, Coca-Cola, Disney, Rolex and F1 racing rivals Red Bull) to be awarded an AAA+ brand rating and has the highest overall score.
Brand Finance Chief Executive David Haigh stated, “The prancing horse on a yellow badge is instantly recognizable the world over, even where paved roads have yet to reach. In its home country and among its many admirers worldwide Ferrari inspires more than just brand loyalty, more of a cultish, even quasi-religious devotion, its brand power is indisputable.”
Though Ferrari is the world’s most powerful brand, being a niche, luxury brand with an officially capped production, it is perhaps unsurprising that it is some way off being the world’s most valuable. Its US$4 billion brand value puts it 350th in brand value terms. David Haigh continues, “Apple also has a powerful brand, rated AAA by Brand Finance. However what sets it apart is its ability to monetize that brand. For example, though tablets were in use before the iPad, it was the application of the Apple brand to the concept that captured the public imagination and allowed it to take off as a commercial reality.” This is just one of the factors responsible for its US$105 billion brand value; it is the world’s most valuable brand for the third year in a row.
Samsung Closing In On Apple’s Brand Value Crown
Apple’s dominance is being challenged by Samsung however. The Korean giant’s improving reputation for reliability, a faster pace of innovation and wider range of devices are among many factors that have seen its brand value increase by US$20 billion to US$79 billion this year. Other tech successes include Netflix, which has nearly doubled its brand value to appear in the Brand Finance Global 500 for the first time. Its value has grown 93% in a year to US$3.2 billion, to make Netflix the 468th most valuable brand. Still operating only in the Americas, Scandinavia and the British Isles, there is huge potential for further growth. Facebook meanwhile has recovered from its problematic IPO, which saw its reputation suffer and its brand value plunge in 2013. This year it has rebounded, adding 76% to its brand value to bring the total to US$9.8 billion, putting it 122nd. Investor confidence in its long term prospects has returned as revenues from mobile advertising have grown.
Tech brands in general have tightened their grip on the Brand Finance Global 500. Walmart is the only non-tech brand remaining in the top 10. Once the world’s most valuable brand, it now sits in 9th having been overtaken by Amazon. The usurpation of the world’s biggest retail brand by the biggest online retailer represents yet another coup for tech brands over ‘real-world’ businesses.
Sinking Nokia Takes Finland Down With It
US brands continue to dominate the Brand Finance’s list, occupying 185 brands of the 500 spots. Japan is second. Despite 7 Japanese brands having dropped out of the table, the total for the country as a whole is up thanks to brand value increases of over 30% from Japan’s three biggest brands; Toyota, Mitsubishi and Honda. President Shinzo Abe’s ‘Abenomics’ programme has begun to pay off and global demand for Japanese goods is improving. Germany, France and the UK complete the top 5. Despite China’s status as the world’s second biggest economy, it is 6th in terms of total brand value as its brands are still developing. Huawei and Baidu have both increased their brand values by over 50%. While controversial for their close associations with the Chinese government, both are likely to exert increasing influence around the world in the next few years.
Nations that have not fared so well include Finland. The country’s only brand, Nokia, has finally been squeezed out of the table after years of slow decline. Nokia has continued to hemorrhage brand value as a result of its inability to effectively counter the challenge Apple and Samsung. Falling out of the Brand Finance Global 500, it follows Blackberry, which dropped out of the top 500 last year. The BRIC nations of Russia, India and in particular Brazil have also fared relatively poorly. The number of Brazilian brands in the table is down from 9 to 5 and those that remain have all lost over 20% of their brand value. One Indian brand has dropped out of the table and several of those that remain have fallen further down the rankings. Tata, India’s flagship brand is the exception however, climbing to 34th worldwide with a brand value of US$21.1 billion.