Top 10 Ranking Changes

Top 10 brand flux reflects impact of a dynamic market

Between 2006, the year WPP launched the BrandZ™ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands ranking, and 2015, the Brand Value of the Top 10 almost tripled, to $1.1 trillion, one-third of the total value of the Global Top 100. But five of the Top 10 dropped out and were replaced. No brand occupies the same rank today as it did 10 years ago.

This reality reflects both the essential power and stability of high-value brands and the extraordinary pressures that brands faced during the past 10 years, including the global financial crisis that bisected the decade, the changing consumption attitudes that emerged from the crisis, and the disruption that technology triggered across categories.

Most astonishingly, 10 years ago, Apple, the world’s most valuable brand, did not even rank in the BrandZ™ Global Top 10. Apple’s rise demonstrates the strength of the brand, which increased 1,446 percent in Brand Value since 2006. Apple’s performance also mirrors the overall influence of technology.

Four of the BrandZ™ Global Top 5 most valuable brands in 2015 are in technology. Six of the Top 10 are technology or telecom provider brands. The addition of more technology brands to the Top 10 reduced the diversity of categories represented, eliminating banks, cars and retail. Now comprised of only North American brands, the Top 10 also became less geographically diverse.

IBM’s rise in the Top 10, from number eight to number four, shows that a heritage brand over a century old, can reinvent itself. Similarly, the younger Microsoft brand refreshed both its products and its processes to compete in today’s more open and collaborative business culture.

The two telecom providers in the Top 10, AT&T and Verizon, demonstrate the impact of Brand Power on Brand Value. These big and salient brands stretched from being voice and data conduits alone to offering content, in an attempt to serve customers in a meaningfully different way.

China Mobile slipped from the Top 10. While the telecom provider remains a powerful brand, it’s no longer China’s most valuable brand. That designation belongs to Tencent, the Internet portal. The market-driven brand surpassed state-owned China Mobile last year in Brand Value.

Two iconic brands that ranked in both the 2006 and 2010 Top 10 – Coca-Cola and McDonald’s – Illustrate how a powerful brand can sustain a business through difficult transitions. Both brands adjusted their products and communications to more effectively address consumer concern about health and calorie intake.

The disappearance of Walmart and Citi from the BrandZ™ Global Top 10 exemplified the impact of disruptive forces. The largest retailer in the world in sales, with over 11,000 stores worldwide, Walmart now ranks third in the retail category, after e-commerce leaders Amazon and Alibaba, which operate no physical stores.

Like other global banks, the financial crisis and an erosion of consumer trust hurt Citi. Although its business has rebounded as it has reorganized, the global banks category overall has not recovered in Brand Value to pre-recession levels.

Market dynamics impact Top 10

Between 2006 and 2015, five of the Top 10 dropped out and were replaced. And no brand occupies the same rank today as it did 10 years ago.

BrandZ™ Global Top 10: 2006 and 2015

BrandZ Top 100 2015

BrandZ Global 2014 Report Top 100 Report

Top 100 Chart

Top 100 Infographic


Methodology and valuation by Kantar Millward Brown


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