BrandZ™ Top 100 Up 7 Percent, Rise Touches Most Categories
The BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands 2013 rose 7 percent in brand value to $2.6 trillion. The increase followed flat growth of less than 1 percent a year ago.
Modest recovery in developed economies, particularly in the US, drove the positive change in BrandZ 2013. And, despite slower economic expansion, the BRICs continued to propel certain categories, especially luxury. Brand value increased in every category but two—technology and oil and gas, which declined slightly.
- The beer category experienced the sharpest brand value increase, 36 percent.
- With a 19 percent rise in brand value, the insurance category rebounded from a 16 percent decline a year ago.
- The apparel category grew 21 percent in brand value on top of a 13 percent increase a year ago.
The minimal decline in technology and oil and gas resulted less from the performance of an entire category, and more from the brand value fluctuations of two important brands, Apple and Brazil's government-controlled Petrobras.
Economic and competitive pressures, rather than brand issues, drove the changes. In fact, Apple increased slightly in brand value to remain world's most valuable brand, illustrating how brand power sustains a company through business challenges.
Top Risers and Newcomers
The three fastest growing brands— Prada, Brahma, and Zara—came from diverse consumer categories: luxury, beer and apparel. Prada increased 63 percent, driven by the ongoing appetite for luxury, particularly in fast growing markets.
The 61 percent brand value rise of Brahma, a Brazilian beer owned by AB InBev, the world's largest brewer, demonstrated the power of a global marketer and the continued vitality in the BRICs.
The fast fashion apparel brand Zara grew 60 percent in brand value, indicating that value still drove shoppers, even though consumer confidence remained fragile.
Eight newcomers, from five categories— luxury, retail, banks (global and regional), technology, and telecom providers entered the BrandZ Top 100: the Italian luxury brands Gucci and Prada; from Australia, the regional banks ANZ and Westpac, plus the supermarket Woolworths; and JP Morgan, a global bank. In addition, the technology brand Yahoo! and BT, the telecoms provider, entered the Top 100.
The leaders in Brand Contribution also came from diverse categories. Brand Contribution is a key metric that measures the impact of brand alone on brand value, with financials and all other factors stripped away.
Colombian beer Aguila and fast food operator Panera scored highest in Brand Contribution. Both brands appeared for the first time in the BrandZ global report, not in the Top 100, but in the rankings of their respective categories.
All the brands in BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands 2013 achieved the distinction of appearing in this report despite mixed economic conditions. They share something else in common.
Their high brand value, relative to other brands, resulted from their ability to appeal to relevant customers with a particular balance of being "meaningful" (meet expectations and generate affection), "different" (unique in a positive way) and "salient" (the brand of choice).
Key characteristics of successful brands
1. Great value
It’s not about price, but what you get for your money. Hermès and Subway both offer great value.
2. Relevant for today
Continuing to renew the brand is essential to remain in contention. IBM reinvention, with its higher margin consultancy that drives a “Smarter Planet,” is totally in tune for today.
3. Harnessing technology
Being available 24/7, being social, being connected is not just the domain of social media. No brand can afford to be out of touch nowadays. Amazon’s online customer management and purchase recommendation was a game changer.
How the brand genuinely behaves today will be assessed immediately, globally, in a flash. Brand strength, what you stand for, is a valuable component of a good reputation. SAP is rated in the BrandZ™ research as being particularly responsible as a company. And this underpins a good reputation.
Consumers will stay loyal if they feel they are getting the best. To consumers, brands that meet their needs are more appealing. These brands are unique in a positive way. Consumers see them as ahead of the game in setting trends. These brands generate the greatest contribution to driving current and future sales. Apple is the archetypical “meaningfully different” brand. Analysts and stock market sentiment might at times be more negative, but Apple has a vital and living brand.
A distinctive brand character is more likely to generate consumer passion and create brand advocates. Brands should not worry about polarizing opinion. It’s better to stand for something. Verizon is what BrandZ™ classifies as a “King”—a brand that is Assertive and In Control but Wise, Desirable and Trustworthy. Each of the eight Top Risers has a distinct personality.
7. Get abroad and about
Expansion of the offer using the brand in its meaningfully different positioning is a route to successful growth. All, except Verizon to date, have moved into new international territories chasing growth and success. Being present in growth markets in this global economy is a must if the brand has a relevant offer.
8. A great branded experience
A brand is only as good as its last experience. Recommendation is a powerful force and can make or break a brand even more quickly in this connected world. Zara has built its reputation and based its considerable innovation on delivering fashion fast, which provides a great consumer experience.