After several years of snatching the prize from each other, Google has managed to fight off Apple to defend its position as the world’s most valuable brand in Kantar Millward Brown’s 2017 BrandZ ranking.
The internet giant has extended its lead after achieving a 7% increase to $246bn, compared to Apple’s 3% rise to $235bn, meaning there is now a 4.4% value difference between to two global leaders. Last year it was far closer at 0.3%.
Microsoft (third) and Facebook (fifth) have also managed to retain their positions in the top five, with the former increasing brand value by 18% to $143bn and Facebook seeing a 27% boost to create a brand value of $130bn.
It is Amazon, however – last year’s fastest riser after increasing brand value by 59% – that continues to see some of the strongest growth. It is again one of top risers after seeing a 41% increase in brand value, meaning it enters the top five for the first time, in fourth place.
Only Adidas (58%) and Chinese alcohol brand Moutai (48%) grew at a faster rate, than Amazon. Moutai climbs 29 places to reach 64th with a brand value of $17bn, and despite being the highest riser Adidas does not make it into the top 100 as its brand value stands at $8.3bn.
The top 10 all increased brand value in 2017 and the pace of growth has picked up overall. The combined brand value of the BrandZ global top 100 grew 8% year on year to $3.6trn, up from $3.4trn in 2016. This compares to 3% growth between 2015 and 2016.
Despite both being in the top 10 in 2016, both Apple (second last year) and IBM (10th) both saw an 8% drop in brand value. This year, IBM climbs one place to ninth having increased brand value by 18% to $102bn.
Since the ranking started in 2006, the total value of the top 100 has grown by a staggering 152%.
US brands dominate
Looking at brand value by location, the US is by far the biggest, representing 72% of the top 100 brands by value. This is up from 69% last year. The collective brand value of brands from Europe (10%), the UK (2%) and Asia (15%) have all dropped by one percentage point since 2016.
The US represents 56% of the brands included in the ranking, up from 51% in 2016, thanks to the inclusion this year of all seven newcomers. These include telecoms provider Xfinity (23), YouTube (65), HPE (76) a company formed after the split of HP, Salesforce (90), Netflix (92), Snapchat (93) and telecoms business Sprint (96).
“If you look at all the new brands that come in this year, they are all tech brands of one sort or another,” says Peter Walsh, BrandZ global strategy director. “Silicon Valley is making funding easy so route to market is even easier with brand America behind it. If you look at the average age of those brands, they’re less than 20 years old.”
These brands also have a different outlook, which is helping them expand at scale.
“They look to launch in 50 countries all at the same time rather than starting small and making sure they’re a real success in the UK or France, which has been the traditional way. Other brands with an exciting vision are adapting to do the same.”
These are brands such as Tencent (8) and Alibaba (14) both of which hail from China and Walshe says “represent the new wave of brands that are thinking much bigger”.
There are 14 brands from fast growing economies in this year’s ranking – 13 from China and one from India – down from a total of 16 last year.
“Chinese brands have had a tough year,” adds Walshe. “It’s to do with the economy and the government control rates on banking. There are still 13 Chinese brands in the top 100 though, which is bigger than any other emerging or emerged market. In the first year it was only China Mobile.