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Washington Brands Boast Highest Brand Value in the US

16 March 2021
  • With nearly US$500 billion of brand value located in the state, Washington ranks 3rd nationally behind only California and New York, according to the latest ranking of top 500 American brands
  • While Washington contributes only 9 brands to the top 500, their average brand value is higher than that of top brands anywhere in the United States, at over US$50 billion
  • Most valuable in Washington, Amazon also ranks 2nd among nation’s most valuable brands, behind Apple and ahead of Google
  • Starbucks leads as America’s most valuable restaurant chain, despite COVID-19 pressures

View the full Brand Finance US 500 2021 report here

Thanks to the presence of several corporate giants – such as Amazon (up 15% to US$254.1 billion), Microsoft (up 20% to US$140.4 billion) and Starbucks (down 6% to US$38.4 billion) – Washington’s cumulative brand value is considerably amplified, making it home to the most valuable brands on average out of all 50 States. Boasting a total brand value of US$477.8 billion combined, with just nine brands represented in the ranking, the average brand value of brands in Washington stands at US$54.0 billion while the national average in the Brand Finance US 500 ranking is only US$8.0 billion.

Laurence Newell, Managing Director, Brand Finance US, commented:

“With more than 500,000 companies either headquartered or with operations in the state, Washington has a rich tradition of fostering, nurturing and building many of the biggest brand names in the world. Washington's tax structure also allows successful businesses to grow and expand more quickly, offering companies in high-growth sectors additional incentives for job creation and innovation.”

Amazon thrives in 2020

Amazon remains the most valuable brand in Washington, ranking 2nd overall in the Brand Finance US 500 2021 ranking. Despite relinquishing its position at the top this year to Apple, the online retail giant is one of the few brands that benefitted considerably from the pandemic and the resulting unprecedented surge in demand as consumers turned online following store closures. Over Q2 and Q3 of 2020, e-commerce platforms experienced the highest revenue growth since 2016.

Most recently – further leveraging the circumstances of the pandemic – Amazon has acquired 11 passenger planes from struggling North American airlines to expand its air logistics capabilities. A tactical purchase to support its fast-growing customer base, but also a strategic move towards building its own end-to-end supply chain, the fleet can allow the brand to become a serious contender in air transportation in due time.

Another example of Amazon’s relentless innovation in the face of global adversity, the brand has also announced its foray into the health sector with the launch of Amazon Pharmacy and fitness tracker Halo. Before it brought success to Apple, daring diversification had already been the hallmark of Amazon’s growth strategy, which it continues to pursue with impressive results.

In addition to measuring overall brand value, Brand Finance also evaluates the relative strength of brands, based on factors such as marketing investment, customer familiarity, staff satisfaction, and corporate reputation.

Amazon has maintained its position as the strongest Washingtonian brand with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 89.9 out of 100, also ranking as the nation’s 3rd strongest brand overall in the Brand Finance US 500 2021 ranking.

Laurence Newell, Managing Director, Brand Finance US, commented:

“Playing a crucial role in supporting a new economic mode in lockdown, Amazon has found itself at the center of attention more than ever before. With a revenue boost came reputational risks – between allegations regarding poor treatment of workers, negative coverage of his divorce and criticism for his apparent reluctance to use wealth for philanthropic goals, Mr. Bezos’ departure from direct leadership might be the best course of action for Amazon going forward to turn the public opinion’s view of the brand.”

Other Washingtonian brands on the most valuable list include Microsoft in second-place, Starbucks in 3rd, Costco (up 28% to US$28.8 billion) in 4th, Xbox (down 1% to US$5.4 billion) in 5th, Nordstrom (down 24% toUS$3.3 billion) ranking 6th, with Zillow (up 63% to US$3.1 billion), Expedia.com (down 25% to US$2.5 billion), and Fortive taking 7th, 8th and 9th place, respectively.

Zillow is the fastest-growing Washingtonian brand and claims a spot in the Brand Finance US 500 2021 top 300most valuable brands, placing 258th, while tech conglomerate Fortive is Washington’s fastest-falling brand, dropping 31% and 96 spots in the ranking to US$1.4 billion and 452nd place overall.

Starbucks leads as America’s most valuable restaurant chain

Despite being strongly affected by COVID-19 and posting net earnings of US$622.2 million for Q1 of its 2021 fiscal year – down 29.7% compared to the same quarter last year – Starbucks remains the world’s top restaurant brand, selling beverages, food, and other items in more than 32,900 stores across 83 markets globally. Founded in Seattle in 1971 and initially only selling roasted coffee beans, the chain was later bought by Howard Schultz who built the brand over nearly three decades into one of the most successful modern-day companies in the world.

View the full Brand Finance US 500 2021 report here

ENDS

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