B2B companies are “lagging” behind their B2C counterparts in terms of brand contribution to business value, a new study finds.
Despite the top 100 B2B brands globally having a combined brand value of around $2trn (£1,590bn), the research by Brand Finance finds these companies have around $1trn (£795bn) worth of additional untapped business value in their brands. This suggests B2B brands could be doing more to create business value through brand.
Brand Finance calculates brand value using the Royalty Relief methodology, which determines how much a company would be willing to pay to licence its brand if it did not own it. It calculates this using a brand’s strength score, the royalty rate for its respective sector and the brand’s revenues.
The research finds Microsoft is, by far, the world’s most valuable B2B brand, worth $137.5bn (£109bn). The next most valuable B2B brand is Amazon, with a brand value of $70.6bn (£56bn), equating to just over 50% that of Microsoft’s.
Despite some controversy around companies profiting in the wake of spiralling consumer energy prices since the war in Ukraine began, oil and gas companies performed very well in the brand value rankings. The most valuable British B2B brand is Shell, with a value of $37.2bn (£29.5bn). In February, Shell reported record annual profits.
This is a dynamically growing sector, and we’re thrilled that B2B has rightfully earned its place in the spotlight, gaining momentum as a creative, emotional, and brand-led channel.
Kirsty Giordani, International Advertising Association UK
Shell ranks eighth globally behind the likes of Oracle ($39.57bn/£31.39bn), Accenture ($39.87bn/£31.63bn) and Aramco ($45.23bn/£35.88bn). The UK has four other brands in the top 100: EY, KPMG, BP and HSBC.
Brand Finance calculates brand strength through three components, marketing investment and input, equity and perception among stakeholders, and output performance measures, such as market share.
Deloitte is the world’s strongest B2B brand, achieving a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 91.3 out of 100. It was one of just two global B2B brands to achieve an AAA+ brand rating. The other brand to achieve this was British firm EY, with a BSI score of 89.9.
The report produced by Brand Finance states that amid many redundancies in the last year, particularly in the tech sector, Deloitte actually boosted its headcount from less than 350,000 to 415,000 in 2022. The company is also the tenth most valuable B2B brand in the world and the most valuable in the commercial services sector.
Four Chinese brands sit in the top 10 for brand strength globally, namely the Bank of China, State Grid, ICBC and China Construction Bank. Energy group Petronas is the world’s third strongest B2B brand, according to the research, while PwC ranks fourth and Accenture sixth.
The reports also includes businesses that sell goods or services to another business to reach an end consumer (B2B2C) in a separate category.
With these brands representing a distinct function from pure-play B2B brands, they have been ranked separately. Google is the world’s most valuable B2B2C brand with a B2B brand value of $281.4bn (£225.4bn).
Media brands dominate the B2B2C brand value top 10, with Amazon being the only non-media brand to make the list. It is the second most valuable B2B2C brand and has a brand value worth around a quarter of Google’s at $70.6bn (£56bn).
Social media players such as TikTok, Instagram and LinkedIn also make the list, as well as more traditional media players such as Warner Bros and Fox. Google is the strongest as well as the most valuable brand on the list, achieving a BSI of 93.2 out of 100. Parent company Alphabet also owns the second strongest brand on the list, YouTube, which achieves a BSI score of 92.7.
Commenting on the findings, International Advertising Association UK executive director Kirsty Giordani says the research demonstrates the “enormous potential” of B2B brands.
“This is a dynamically growing sector, and we’re thrilled that B2B has rightfully earned its place in the spotlight, gaining momentum as a creative, emotional, and brand-led channel,” she says.