Google, Apple and Amazon are the top three most valuable global brands in a ranking of 100 companies compiled by WPP, the world's largest advertising company, and its data management division Kantar Millward Brown.
“We’ve seen the biggest ever rise in brand value this year, driven by growth across all categories,” said David Roth, chief executive, EMEA and Asia, at WPP. “Both new and established players have seen the payoff in being bold and adopting a long-term outlook towards brand-building.”
Of the top 10 in this year’s Brandz Top100 ranking, eight companies were technology or technology related, demonstrating the importance of the sector in today’s data-driven world, WPP said. The total brand value of the BrandZ Top 100 grew by a record 21 per cent, WPP said, adding almost $750bn to the ranking now valued at $4.4 trillion.
Google was ranked the most valuable brand for the second year running, growing its brand value 23 per cent year-on-year to $302.1 billion. Apple followed, growing 28 per cent to $300.6bn, then Amazon, which overtook Microsoft to occupy third place this year growing 49 per cent to $207.6bn. In fourth place, Microsoft’s brand value rose 40 per cent to $200.9, and China’s Tencent rose 65 per cent to fifth position with a brand value of $179bn, ahead of Facebook in sixth position, which grew 25 per cent to $162bn.
Other companies in the top 10 include Visa, McDonald’s, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and telecoms provider AT&T. IBM and Verizon came in as the 10th and 11th most notable brands, while tobacco company Marlboro came in at 13 followed by Coca Cola.
The Brandz Top100 conducted surveys and analysis to measure a company’s brand impact and value. The report did not include a specific section on the Middle East and featured no homegrown Middle East and North Africa (Mena) companies –unlike a similar ranking by consultancy Brand Finance earlier this year, which included Dubai-based carrier Emirates, UAE telco Etisalat, and Saudi Telecoms Company, among other brands from the region.
China accounts for three fastest rising brands, which grew at double the pace of US-based brands, according to WPP’s report. These were e-commerce retailer JD.com, or Jingdong, in 59th place with a 94 per cent year-on-year rise in brand value bolstered by its entry into new categories such as finance; Alibaba, which entered the top 10 for the first time this year with 92 per cent growth, and beverage producer Moutai in 34th position, which grew by 89 per cent.
2018 was also the first year that non-US brands grew faster than US brands, WPP noted. Other parts of the world, such as India and Indonesia, are also showing strong regional growth.
The increasing use of data-driven, intelligence-led technologies such as artificial intelligence and augmented reality, alongside creative marketing approaches, has allowed many brands to build a more in-depth understanding of their customers and deliver personalised content and improved brand experiences, the report said.
“Those companies that invest in intelligence-led marketing and back their brands with the power of creativity and ideas will be the winners in today’s world of innovation, disruption and change,” Mr Roth added.