Guest Contributor Doreen Wang
| June 13, 2018
Kantar Millward Brown
Global Head of BrandZ
2018 has been a record year for the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global brands. Following a 21 percent brand value increase - equivalent to the GDP of Switzerland - the total value of the BrandZ Global Top 100 has reached a staggering $4.4 trillion. It is no surprise that tech and tech-related brands such as Google, Amazon and PayPal lead the way, but this year the ranking holds a mirror to world events as we see a growing battle for dominance between the East and West as the number of Chinese brands in the ranking increased and dominated the list of fastest risers.
The Brands winning in the intelligence-led marketing era are businesses that put the consumer at the heart of everything they do. Brands like Tencent and Amazon are using technology to understand the needs of their consumers and are applying these learnings to create an ecosystem of services to fulfil multiple needs, enabling a seamless consumer experience between platforms. Enabled by technology, these brands are disrupting the entire marketplace. Amazon is lowering the barrier to entry for many brands, where consumer reviews empower lesser known brands to overtake established rivals. Voice commerce is now a reality, increasing convenience but handing the power to the algorithms driving them when an exact brand is not referenced. AI is being used by an increasing number of businesses to impact our everyday lives, informing decisions and optimising operations. Technologies that were once only an idea are becoming an everyday reality.
For those brands that do not have the tech infrastructure to build a brand ecosystem, partnerships proved pivotal. Leading brands continued to raise the bar on expectations for customer experience at every customer touch point—both online and offline—from trial to pick-up or delivery by seeking strategic, long-term partnerships. Examples are Budweiser and Lyft teaming up to be your designated driver; McDonald’s and UberEats bringing the fast food favourite to you; Gucci and Farfetch delivering the latest fashions Store to Door in 90 minutes; and the wide and varied list goes on from Apple and Hermes to Levis and Google.
As brands offer solutions to problems we didn’t even know we had, the consumer is becoming increasingly aware of the wealth of options at their fingertips, making informed decisions based on what is important to them. For consumers where health is a priority they are no longer limited to salads but can choose from a variety of fresh and locally sourced ingredients – with a healthy burger now a possibility. For consumers desiring escapism, fashion brands offered bright, bold and fun designs with elements of streetwear design.
As a result of consumer’s needs changing so have the categories that service them; car brands have become mobility brands, oil and gas brands have become energy providers and telecom brands are becoming content providers.
One thing that remains unchanged is that actionable and future-proofing consumer insights are key. Consumers still look for brands that provide meaning by meeting their needs and offer something different from their competitors. To win, knowledge of your consumer and your consumer’s experience of your brand must be at the heart of everything you do.