Amazon maintains number one spot and accounts for a third of the Top 100 total growth. Picture: 123RF/KEN WOLTER
Amazon maintains number one spot and accounts for a third of the Top 100 total growth. Picture: 123RF/KEN WOLTER

The world’s most valuable brands have seen their total brand value increase by 5.9% despite the economic, social and personal impact of Covid-19, according to the 2020 “BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands ranking released today by WPP and Kantar.

The total brand value of the Top 100 global brands reached $5-trillion, equivalent to the annual GDP of Japan. It has increased by 245% since 2006, when the total brand value first reached $1-trillion. 

Picture: SUPPLIED/KANTAR
Picture: SUPPLIED/KANTAR

The Top 100 most valuable brands have shown they are more resilient and less volatile in the current crisis than they were during the global economic crisis of 2008/2009, adding an additional $277bn of brand value growth over the past year. The BrandZ strong brands portfolios continued to outperform the market, including the S&P 500 and MSCI world equity index, and even in the current crisis dipped less than the global average.

The ranking uses valuation data incorporating stock price performance from April 2020 to reflect the impact of Covid-19. Against a backdrop of uncertainty, those companies that have consistently invested in longer-term marketing and in building strong brands have managed to stave off the worst of the crisis. Before the global pandemic, total brand value of the Top 100 brands was set to increase by 9%.

Charles Foster, CEO Africa & Middle East, Insights Division at Kantar says, “Insights from BrandZ demonstrate yet again the ability of strong brands to immunise companies against the effects of economic shocks, even ones as massive as a global pandemic. With the BrandZ SA and the first BrandZ Middle East Most Valuable Brands study due for release later in the year, will our brands’ show the same degree of resilience in the face of adversity?”

BrandZ portfolios vs S&P500 and MSCI World: April 2006 to April 2020. Picture: SUPPLIED/KANTAR
BrandZ portfolios vs S&P500 and MSCI World: April 2006 to April 2020. Picture: SUPPLIED/KANTAR

Amazon maintained its position as the world’s most valuable brand, growing 32% to $415.9bn. Having first entered the “BrandZ Global Top 100 Most Valuable Brands” ranking in 2006, Amazon’s value grew by almost $100bn this year and accounts for a third of the Top 100’s total growth.

Technology brands continued to dominate the top of the ranking, representing more than a third (37%) of brand value in the Top 100 and growing overall by 10%.

Apple maintained its position as the second-most valuable global brand (+14%, $352.2bn) while Microsoft regained the number three position (+30%, $326.5bn) ahead of Google (+5%, $323.6bn) at number four, due to the growth of its cloud-enabled workplace ecosystem that incorporates Office365 and Microsoft Teams, allowing people to maintain “business as usual” during the lockdown.

Asian brands represented a quarter of the Top 100 brands, including 17 Chinese brands. Alibaba (+16%, number six, $152.5bn) was the most valuable Chinese brand with internet services giant Tencent (+15%, number seven, $151bn) one place behind.

This year’s BrandZ Top 100 showed that innovation and creativity are key drivers of growth as people spend more time online. One of the most exciting new brands, short video-sharing social network TikTok (number 79, $16.9bn) was the highest new entry this year, offering lighthearted, entertaining user-generated content.

“Brand building, at the core of BrandZ, continues making sense and cents as a business investment, and it is phenomenal to see growth in spite of the economic ravages of Covid-19. A global perspective for marketers is critical, as sometimes we can be too locally introspective, forgetting that our consumers are informed, involved and inspired by global brands.

"How exciting to see that innovation and creativity is driving the bottom line, demonstrating that is not just about data and tech, but the impact of the human spirit in the mix. TikTok shows us that brands do not even have to infuse creativity themselves but instead, as an enabler of creativity, allows the brand to connect with the hearts and minds of people,” says Ivan Moroke, Kantar SA CEO, Insights division.

Picture: SUPPLIED/KANTAR
Picture: SUPPLIED/KANTAR

The retail sector showed a strong performance, growing the fastest (21%) in brand value driven by the major e-commerce players. Over half of brands in the media and entertainment category appeared in the top 20 risers, including Netflix (+34%, $45.9bn), up eight places to number 26, Instagram (+47%, $41.5bn) up 15 places to number 29, LinkedIn (+31%, number 43, $29.9bn), and Xbox (+18%, $19.6bn), up 22 places to number 65.

Retail ecommerce brands Amazon, Alibaba and JD (+24%, number 52, $25.5bn) demonstrated innovation and agility during difficult times, along with more traditional retailers like Walmart (+24%, number 27, $45.8bn), which has invested in its ecommerce capabilities.

Brands have also found new and creative ways to engage with consumers, build trust and create a level of intimacy, particularly in health and wellness. Athleisure brand Lululemon (+40%, $9.7bn) was one of the fastest risers, having shifted its focus from yoga-inspired wear to work-appropriate clothing, as well as offering online classes for people at home.

Doreen Wang, global head of BrandZ at Kantar, says: “Innovation has proven to be a key driver for growth in this year’s Top 100, and a way to prevent decline. Creativity is also an important trait for the world’s most valuable brands. Companies such as Amazon, Apple and Google, the tech giants that continue to innovate successfully, are relevant to consumers’ lives and make it easier for them to choose a brand.”

Key trends highlighted in this year’s “BrandZ Most Valuable Global 100” study include:

  • MasterCard entered the Top 10 for the first time this year, due to strong financial performance, supported by growing brand equity especially in engaging consumers: successfully fitting into the “ecosystem” of their everyday lives, and gaining a close emotional connection through its purposeful positioning.

  • Five new entrants appear in the Top 100, led by Chinese entertainment brand TikTok, followed by UnitedHealthcare (number 86, $15.8bn), Bank of China (number 97, $13.7bn), Lancôme (number 98, $13.6bn) and Pepsi (number 99, $13.3bn).

  • Building ecology has become a trend in the global business community. Haier (number 68, $18.7bn) is the leading IoT ecosystem brand for the second year running.

  • US brands represented more than half of the Top 100 brands. Asian brands represented a quarter of the Top 100 brands, with 17 from China (including Alibaba and Tencent in the Top 10) and two from Japan (Toyota and NTT).

  • Sustainability is the new luxury — younger consumers expect the qualities associated with luxury, but with sustainable materials and less packaging. Four luxury brands made the Top 100 this year, led by Louis Vuitton (+10%, number 19, $51.8bn).

David Roth, CEO of The Store WPP EMEA and Asia and Chairman of BrandZ, says: “The continued growth in value of the BrandZ Top 100 shows that strong brands are in a much better place than they were in the global economic crisis of 2008/9. We see a significant improvement in brand equity now compared to 10 years ago because businesses understand the importance of investing in brand-building and are stronger and more resilient as a result. While the impact of Covid-19 has affected every business regardless of size or geography, consistent investment in marketing can and will help carry you through a crisis.”

The full BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands report and rankings are available to download here and via Brandz.com. The Global report, rankings, charts, articles and more can also be found via the BrandZ app. The app also contains the same features and functionality for all BrandZ regional reports and is free to download for Apple IOS and all Android devices from www.brandz.com/mobile or search for BrandZ in the respective iTunes or Google Play app stores.

For more information, visit www.kantar.com

This article was paid for by Kantar.

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments?
Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.