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Dear Friends of Millward Brown,

If the 9th annual edition of the BrandZ™ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands tells us anything, it is that the recession is over.

We are delighted to share the latest data gathered by Millward Brown on behalf of WPP using the proprietary valuation method of Millward Brown Vermeer (formerly Optimor). It shows that the combined brand value of the world’s most important brands has risen by 12 percent to $2.9 trillion. This follows a 7 percent improvement the previous year.

BrandZ™ has cemented itself as an invaluable resource to help businesses understand how their financial health is intrinsically-linked to, and enhanced by, brand building. After a few dark years the evidence is clear that the world’s strongest brands are leading the global recovery.

We are providing data from 150,000 interviews with consumers from around the world and the insights, as always, are fascinating. The 2014 edition reveals that the combined value of the BrandZ™ Global Top 100 has almost doubled in eight years. Since 2006, the stock market value of the BrandZ™ Strong Brands portfolio, a sub-set of the main survey, has appreciated by 81 percent over the same period.

Unique to our approach is the recognition that in all markets a small number of consumers account for a large proportion of sales. Loyal consumers are more valuable to a brand than occasional users, a crucial factor when analyzing brand value.

The Top 100 also confirms that more favorable economic conditions have helped traditional Western brands improve their valuations, which means fewer brands from fast-growing economies are represented. Brands that are in business for reasons beyond the bottom line are also more likely to have increased their value.

Not surprisingly technology brands dominate the top positions and there is a new number one. Google has knocked Apple off its perch after three years at the top. Apple is performing well but is it still redefining technology for consumers? What is obvious is that the value of technology brands reiterates how they are now an integral part of our lives.

Apparel is the fastest growing category with the Top 10 apparel brands growing by 29 percent, but all brands must continue to innovate and excite consumers to drive their businesses forward, something Google excels at. There is no room for complacency on quality or customer service as a brand’s reputation can be dented in seconds through the power of social media.

Looking at some of the brands with greatest future potential, as well as Apple and Google, Facebook remains an innovative brand people cannot do without and Amazon is constantly expanding its ecosystem. IKEA has successfully positioned itself as different and great value rather than cheap, while MTN is growing rapidly in African markets buoyed by its mission to help people. Red Bull is an experiential lifestyle brand defining differentiation, while there are huge international opportunities for PingAn Insurance, an entrepreneurial private brand. Two other brands with great potential in 2014 are Construction Bank of China and Verizon, which bought out Vodafone.

At Millward Brown, we are proud to produce the BrandZ™ Top 100 and be part of an amazing organisation like WPP, which exists to help businesses improve their competitiveness and profitability by devising and implementing effective marketing, advertising and brand strategies. The insights from around the world revealed within the latest BrandZ™ Top 100 are valuable nuggets of consumer understanding that will help businesses grow the value of their brands in 2014 and beyond.

Warmest regards,

Travyn Rhall
CEO, Millward Brown

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