Amazon defends its position as world’s most valuable brand, growing nearly 25% to US$187.9 billion, according to the latest Brand Finance Global 500 report launched today at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Due to an ever-diversifying portfolio, it seems no industry is safe from Amazon’s reach.
The retail industry has felt the biggest impact, as e-commerce has now become the consumer norm. Walmart, which held the top position in the Brand Finance Global 500 just 10 years ago, has now dropped out of the top 10 for the first time. Although its brand value has grown 10% to US$67.9 billion, the company continues to struggle with product fulfilment issues, increased transportation costs, and slow gains in its online sales.
Apart from disrupting traditional industries, the tech sector has carved out a clear space of its own, demanding 6 positions in the top 10 most valuable brands. Apple (2nd, US$153.6 billion) and Google (3rd, US$142.8 billion) round out the top three ranks. As Apple struggles to grow in key emerging markets and shows little motivation to diversify its portfolio, it could be the opportune moment for Google to shift to 2nd place in 2020. Will Apple share Walmart’s fate as its overreliance on handset sales endangers its long-term prosperity?
Microsoft makes a comeback to the top 5, up from 6th to 4th in the Brand Finance Global 500. With a 47% increase in brand value to US$119.6 billion, it is the fastest-growing brand among the top 10 most valuable. While it once may have seemed that Microsoft was out of the game, its determination to adapt is a great example how a brand can use change to its advantage. The company’s transformation to a cloud-centric business model has proven successful.
“A business cannot concentrate all its efforts and resources in one area and expect to survive long-term. The brands that evolve and experiment in new sectors, like Amazon and Microsoft, are the ones which will continue to outperform competitors; while the brands that are slower to adapt or diversify, like Walmart and Apple, will miss a key opportunity to grow brand value,” said David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance.
In the media industry, new players are also upsetting the status quo. The majority of the world’s biggest network brands have felt the pinch while digital platforms encroach upon their viewership. iQiyi, China’s answer to Netflix, is the world’s fastest-growing brand of 2019, up a whopping 326% year-on-year, three times the 105% hike by its US counterpart.
Aside from calculating brand value, Brand Finance also determines the relative strength of brands through a balanced scorecard of metrics evaluating marketing investment, stakeholder equity, and business performance. While Facebookheld on to its spot as the 7th most valuable brand, following a succession of scandals, its brand strength suffered the second worst decline in the top 100, resulting in a brand rating downgrade from AAA+ to AAA-.
Sporting a far better performance, Ferrari has taken the title of world’s strongest brand of 2019. The Italian supercar manufacturer’s Brand Strength Index (BSI) score increased from 91.5 to 94.8 out of 100, overtaking the likes of McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Lego, and Disney. It is the strongest of only 14 brands in the Brand Finance Global 500 2019 ranking to be awarded the elite AAA+ rating.
“As the world’s foremost luxury carmaker, Ferrari has an unparalleled level of brand recognition, upholding excellence for design and innovation. Its prancing horse logo is a perfect symbol of the brand’s strength and vitality as it plans new models and reaches outside the auto industry,” Haigh added.