Louis Vuitton bags the top spot with Hermès in second place
Paris – Luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, Hermès and CHANEL dominate the first BrandZ™ Top 50 Most Valuable French Brands ranking released today by WPP and Kantar Millward Brown, demonstrating the role that heritage plays in turbo-charging some of the biggest French brands.
The research reveals that France’s most valuable brands are incredibly well known and salient, but it also highlights a key challenge: they can be perceived as less innovative than some smaller French companies and foreign rivals.
Louis Vuitton topped the chart with a brand value of $35.5 billion, followed by Hermès at $26.0 billion. Personal Care brand L’Oréal Paris was close behind at $24.5 billion, with Orange at $17.9 billion and CHANEL at $13.4 billion. The top four brands also feature in the BrandZ Global Top 100 ranking published in June 2017.
The total brand value of the French Top 50 brands is $240.4 billion – some $6 billion more than the equivalent UK 2017 ranking – with the Luxury category accounting for $88.9 billion, followed by Personal Care at $45.4bn and Telecom Providers at $31.4bn. The presence of so many luxury brand, accessories, fragrance and cosmetics names gives the ranking a uniquely French flavour with seven Luxury brands and eight Personal Care brands.
Many of these brands benefit from a century or more of heritage and have contributed hugely to France’s image on the international stage as a hub of beauty, fashion and quality craftsmanship. However, their success both globally and in their home market also highlights one potential weakness: a perceived lack of innovation in many of the country’s largest brands.
The solution will vary from brand to brand. For some it could mean changing recipes, ranges and designs, for others, it’s less about the product and more about the way the brand relates to consumers and projects its brand voice.
The advantages of being perceived as innovative are significant. The top third of brands perceived as innovative in the Top 50 by French consumers have an average brand value of $7.0 billion, just under two-and-a-half times that of the brands in the bottom third, which were valued at $2.9 billion on average.
David Roth, CEO EMEA and Asia, The Store WPP, commented: “France’s new political leadership hopes to reignite its economic growth and the country’s biggest brands can play a huge part in delivering that. If heritage can be combined with innovation, France’s world-leading brands will become even more impressive players at home and abroad.”
The BrandZ Top 10 Most Valuable French Brands 2018
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“France’s largest brands are global icons and their long heritage can be a valuable part of their armoury when it comes to competing with rivals from other countries. There is even greater potential if they can combine this heritage story with perceived innovation. Some are already managing this mix well, but others need to take action if they want to continue to thrive. Such innovation or perceived innovation is critical to a strong brand,” says Pierre Gomy, Managing Director France at Kantar Millward Brown.
The BrandZ French Top 50 report also includes new research from Y&R’s BAV Group in partnership with U.S. News & World Report and the Wharton School, which examines what it takes to build powerful nation brands. According to BAV Group’s 2017 Best Countries report, France ranks ninth overall out of 80 countries, and scores particularly high on heritage and cultural influence as well as modernity and new trends.
Key trends highlighted in the BrandZ French Top 50 study include:
- Demonstrate the effects, don’t explain the features – French consumers are both sophisticated and impatient. Long lists of product features are not considered interesting, and decisions are driven by what effect a brand or product can have on their lives. Demonstrating the effects of a brand makes a more powerful connection than explaining how this happens.
- Make the most of data – Many brands now have access to a vast amount of information about the consumers they have relationships with – and those that they’d like to engage with – but can struggle to put that data to good use.
- Consumers are looking for experiences – Retail is no longer just a place in which to make a transaction, it’s increasingly a place where consumers go to interact with a brand. Much of the browsing and buying experience of shopping can be done more conveniently online, so people are looking for something else from the physical store experience – or more real-world experiences from brands outside the retail context. The goal should be not simply to sell but to engage. Digital life is no longer separate from the rest of people’s lives, and brands are adapting to reflect these blurring lines.
- Innovation could help pricey brands build relevance – The most valuable French brands may be household names but many carry premium prices and are out of reach for most. So, while they score highly on salience – or the ease with which they spring to mind – they falter when it comes to meaning – a measure of how a brand makes people’s lives better. BrandZ research shows that innovation is strongly linked to increases in relevance and is an area where many French brands could improve.
The BrandZ Top 50 Most Valuable French Brands report and ranking, as well as other brand insights for key regions of the world are available online here. The reports, rankings, charts, articles and more can also be accessed through the BrandZ app, which is free to download for Apple IOS and all Android devices from http://www.brandz.com/mobile or by searching for BrandZ in the iTunes or Google Play app stores.