· Mitsubishi, Honda follow in Toyota’s wake with strong brand value rankings while Nissan loses value
· NTT Group leads high tech sector as Japan’s second most valuable brand
· UQ Communications earns Japan’s fastest growing brand valuation
· 7-Eleven is Japan’s strongest brand
· Sony enters top ten with big improvement to brand strength and value
Toyota’s brand value grew by 5% to ¥4.9 trillion, retaining its leadership position as Japan’s most valuable brand, according to the latest report by Brand Finance, the world’s leading independent brand valuation and strategy consultancy. In second place, NTT Group (brand value up 12% to ¥4.6 trillion) narrowed the gap behind Toyota.
While recording modest growth to remain on top of the Japanese rankings, Toyota was narrowly overtaken by Mercedes-Benz to fall from first to second amongst all global automobile brands. Globally, Toyota faces a challenging brand landscape, largely due to a weaker position in China as consumers in that market have shied away from the Japanese manufacturer in favour of more aspirational brands, such as Mercedes-Benz.
Last year, Toyota’s world-wide vehicle sales rose by almost 300,000, to just under 9 million. However, largely due to changes in currency exchange rates, Toyota’s operating income decreased by ¥859.5 billion yen. Consequently, improved marketing efforts and cost reductions allowed the brand to grow its value modestly.
David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, commented:
“Toyota remains Japan’s most valuable brand because it is trusted to deliver an affordable and high-quality product. Its customers know what Toyota stands for, which gives it great brand strength, but at the same time, it has a lot of work to be done to effectively leverage the brand in the world’s largest car market: China.”
Mitsubishi, Honda follow in Toyota’s wake with strong brand value rankings while Nissan loses value
Mitsubishi Group (brand value up 2% to ¥2.9 trillion) and Honda (brand value up 16% to ¥2.5 trillion) both reported strong brand value results, claiming third and fourth-place rankings in the Japanese brand value table. Both brands – like Toyota – have been under pressure from foreign exchange movements over the last year, and a key determinant in their short to medium-term success will be whether they are able to secure a meaningful portion of the giant Chinese car market. Another auto brand, Nissan, recorded a 13% decrease in brand value to ¥2.2 trillion and fell down to the 5th place in the league table.
NTT Group leads high tech sector as Japan’s second most valuable brand
NTT Group (brand value up 12% to ¥4.6 trillion) retained its position as Japan’s second most valuable brand, and significantly closed the gap behind Toyota. The communications firm particularly benefited from an increase in revenue from data services and its mobile communication business. This was driven by growing their mobile user base by almost 1.5 million and delivering fibre to the home services to an extra 0.5 million subscribers.
Fellow telecommunication companies SoftBank (brand value up 2% to ¥2.1 trillion) and au (brand value up 10% to ¥1.9 trillion) remained amongst the top ten most-valuable Japanese brands, with Softbank’s valuation remaining steady. The faster brand value growth by au was primarily driven by better business performance as part of the KDDI group.
UQ Communications earns Japan’s fastest growing brand valuation
In addition to au’s growth, fellow KDDI brand, UQ Communications (brand value up 168% to ¥0.4 trillion), was the fastest growing brand amongst Japan’s 50 most valuable brands. Over the last year, UQ’s number of subscribers has surged, leading to the fast valuation growth.
Nintendo (brand value up 84% to ¥0.9 trillion) was Japan’s second-fastest growing brand, with the successful launch of the Nintendo Switch product. Compared to previous Nintendo platforms, the Switch has been enjoying huge growth in online, digital download sales. The Switch represents a new idea of a gaming console that is also mobile and has enjoyed a favourable global reception.
The Nintendo Switch has made a solid start, but the coming year will be a key test for the Nintendo brand and this new product. With the novelty of initial purchases wearing off, the platform is truly put to the test as the longevity (or lack thereof) of the product becomes evident.
7-Eleven is Japan’s strongest brand
In addition to measuring overall brand value, Brand Finance also evaluates the relative strength of brands through the Brand Strength Index (BSI) – a balanced scorecard of factors including marketing investment, customer familiarity, staff satisfaction, and corporate reputation. Along with the level of revenues, brand strength is a crucial driver of brand value.
According to these criteria, with a BSI score of 85.9 out of 100 and a corresponding AAA brand rating, 7-Eleven is the strongest Japanese brand. In addition to domestic Japanese operations, the brand operates elsewhere in Asia as well as in North America, Australia, and Scandinavia. The acquisition of 1,000 Sunoco retail stores in North America over the last year has been a major factor in 7-Eleven’s 11% rise in brand strength, with their BSI score improving from 77.2 last year. The additional sites are improving convenience and accessibility amongst their key markets.
Sony enters top ten with big improvement to brand strength and value
Sony (brand value up 30% to ¥1.4 trillion) improved its brand value ranking from 12th to 10th as it grew on all key brand-related metrics. Its revenue forecasts have increased significantly, and its BSI score jumped 12% from 75.7 to 84.7 this year, improving their standing from being the 14th strongest brand in Japan in 2017 to claiming second place behind only 7-Eleven this year. This brand strength growth correlated with improved stakeholder sentiment from a focus on positive news stories at Sony, rather than the challenges that they had faced in previous years.
Note to Editors
Every year, leading independent valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance values the world’s biggest brands. The 50 most valuable Japanese brands are included in the Brand Finance Japan 50 2018 league table.
Brand value is understood as the net economic benefit that a brand owner would achieve by licensing the brand in the open market. Brand strength is assessed through a balanced scorecard of factors (such as marketing investment, stakeholder equity, and business performance) and used to determine what proportion of a business’s revenue is contributed by the brand.
Additional insights, more information about the methodology, as well as definitions of key terms are available in the Brand Finance Japan 50 2018 report.
Brand Finance helped craft the internationally recognized standard on Brand Valuation – ISO 10668, and the recently approved standard on Brand Evaluation – ISO 20671.
Data compiled for the Brand Finance league tables and reports are provided for the benefit of the media and are not to be used for any commercial or technical purpose without written permission from Brand Finance.