Why this was a bad year for BrandZ’s top 10 UK brands

BT’s continued strong growth has not halted an overall slide in value for the biggest UK brands, with Tesco’s annus horribilis coming alongside regulatory woes for the financial services sector.

The UK’s top 10 brands by value remain the same this year as in 2014, according to Millward Brown’s latest BrandZ ranking, but half of the brands included have seen a decline in value with the overall value down 4% compared to last year.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given its recent £6.38bn reported financial loss, Tesco saw the biggest fall in brand value (37%) but despite the decline it only drops back one position in the UK top 10 to 6th, with a brand value of $9.4bn.

“The middle sector of retail is being squeezed by the discounters and Tesco is suffering disproportionately because it is the biggest and has got the most to lose,” says Walshe. “Tesco is still strong but it has lost differentiation and as a result its brand has weakened.”

Tesco drops out of the global top 100 for the first time as a result, but Walshe reckons it is back on the right track again under the leadership of new CEO Dave Lewis.

Within the banking sector HSBC, Barclays and Standard Chartered have all suffered a decline in brand value. HSBC’s has dropped 11% to $24bn but it remains the UK’s second most valuable brand, placing it 35th in the global ranking. Barclays’ brand value has fallen 7% to $8.8bn and Standard Chartered’s decline has been even steeper, falling 25% to $6.9bn.

The banking sector continues to be dogged by regulatory scandals and government fines, which have impacted both on brands’ reputations and their financial performance.

Vodafone is by far the most valuable UK brand at $38.5bn, up 6% on 2014, and with a global ranking of 23. It is the fourth largest telecoms provider behind US firm AT&T, worth $89.5bn; Verizon, valued at $86bn, in which Vodafone had a 45% share until last year; and China Mobile, with a brand value of $59.9bn.

BT is the UK’s fastest growing brand after increasing value by 17% to $18bn, although its rate of growth has slowed compared to last year when its move into sports broadcasting with BT Sport helped its value rocket 61%. BT holds steady as the UK’s fourth most valuable brand but it moves up six positions in the global ranking to 58th.

With its acquisition of mobile operator EE nearing completion, it will become more of a threat in 2016 to Shell – the UK’s third most valuable brand, which remains static at $18.9bn this year.

In the 10 years of BrandZ lists, the combined value of the top 10 UK brands has increased 78%, from $83.2bn in 2006 to $149.2bn today, although growth stalled after 2010.

This far below the global top 10, however, which has grown at a much faster rate of 179% over the past 10 years, demonstrating that the UK’s top brands have much to do to catch up with their American and Asian counterparts.

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