Brand is powerhouse of business success

Lucy Handley

Millward Brown’s BrandZ top 100 global brands demonstrates what great marketing can do. The brands on the list have increased in value by more than 64% since the ranking started five years ago, whereas the S&P 500 companies’ value has decreased overall, as MaryLou Costa’s feature explains.

Toyota, a business that has been beset with problems, is back at the top of the list of car marques, showing the power of the brand. Apple, meanwhile, is now the world’s number one brand, elbowing Google from the top spot for the first time since 2007. The user experience for both is consistently good and clearly branded, and the fact that the companies are complicated global operations rarely comes across to the consumer in a negative sense.

While Apple’s story is clearly astonishing, being valued at $153bn (£94bn), it is Coca-Cola that does best in the top 10 in terms of pure brand contribution, and it is the sixth most valuable brand in the world. The fact that it is celebrating its 125th birthday this week and is worth $74bn (£45bn) is pretty amazing for something that is essentially a sweet brown fizzy liquid. Marketing Week editor Mark Choueke has this week been given full access to Coke’s Atlanta headquarters, so look out for his eye-opening account in our bumper issue of 26 May.

“Considering that Coca-Cola is essentially a sweet brown fizzy liquid, the fact it is celebrating its 125th birthday and is worth £45bn is pretty amazing”

Overall, UK brands have decreased in value by 4% since last year, whereas global brands as a whole are up 17%. Vodafone is at number one in the UK ranking, and 12th in the global list but its brand value has slipped 2% to $44bn (£27bn). By contrast, China Mobile’s brand value has risen 9% to $57bn (£35bn) and its presence in China is such that at one point last year it was selling 500,000 subscriptions every single day.

Standard Chartered Bank is a British business to watch abroad as it gains 45% in brand value to just over $12bn (£7bn). In the luxury sector, British powerhouse Burberry has entered the top 10 global brands for the first time. Hopefully this will be further boosted by its growing presence in China, exemplified by its lavish party to launch its Beijing flagship store last month.

Speaking of great parties, I was lucky enough to attend the graduation of the first batch of scholars from the Marketing Academy on Monday night, including marketers from British brands the BBC, RAC and Aviva. One senior manager described the event as a “who’s who” of marketing. Marketing Week is a sponsor of this learning academy and will be keenly watching the careers of those involved go stellar.

Lucy Handley, acting deputy features editor

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