MONDAY 5 FEB 2018 5:12 PM


Topping the Global 500 Ranking, Amazon’s expansion beyond the online retail space has transformed the brand into what David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, calls, “An unstoppable force.” Yet the business valuation consultancy’s annual report delves much further into the inner workings of brand value, tracing the technological, economic, regulatory and monetary factors that play a significant role in each year’s considerations.

In keeping with the year’s wider business trends, digital’s dominance remains a key aspect of the Global 500 Ranking. For the first time in the study’s history, the top five spots have all been awarded to technology brands, as tech ranked most efficient in the study’s sector breakdown. Despite Apple and Google’s market dominance shrinking however, both shared a significant increase in brand value per USD, with Apple’s second place positioning reinforced by a 37% growth in brand value.

At third place, Google and the entire Alphabet enterprise pitched positive numbers across the study’s findings, yet its sector-specific outlook, matched with stiff market competition, have contributed to the company’s decline from first to third place. However, its leading cloud technology and search capacity, along with key investment in driverless cars have kept Google in the topflight. In addition, Google-owned YouTube more than doubled its brand value in the past year, increasing 70 places to rank 42nd overall.

Comparatively however, growth has been most efficient in China. The country’s share of global brand value has increased from 3% to 15%, growing as much as 888% to $911.5bn in 2018. Brands such as State Grid, Wuliangye and Tencent now hold significant positions in terms of brand value, showing little sign of decline.

Elsewhere, Disney’s recent purchase of 21st Century Fox has gifted the brand with a wider outreach, clocking a brand strength index (BSI) of 92.3, and ranking top in terms of brand strength. The addition of Star India and Sky give the brand a wider scope for brand dominance, the question as to whether the brand can leverage its newfound position however, will be determined in the coming weeks and months.

“The growth of Chinese brands is once again the standout story in our annual study of the world’s most valuable brands. Since the 19th Party Congress in 2017, there has been a renewed emphasis on brand development by Chinese companies in all sectors. Interestingly, while China had been pursuing a dual strategy of building home-grown brands but also acquiring underperforming international brands, like Volvo and Pirelli, the emphasis is now firmly on home-grown brands. Brands like Huawei, Ping An, State Grid, Evergrande, ICBC, Yili, Haval Wuliangye, and many others are now being recognised worldwide as quality brands. We expect to see this developed rapidly in more sectors,” says Haigh.

To see more of this year’s Brand Finance Global 500 Ranking, click here.



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