This week on the blog we’re focusing on branding and licensing news, starting with the latest trends. According to the recently released annual BrandZ report by WPP and Millward Brown, tech industries and brands that utilise new technology (apps, wearable tech) are experiencing the greatest success, with a proliferation of technology companies appearing to dominate the BrandZ: Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands list.
In order to calculate the value of each business, each brand’s equity is measured using a combination of data. Interview findings from over 3 million consumers worldwide are used to evaluate the public perception of each brand. This information is then combined with their financial and professional performance data to produce their brand value.
Tech comes out on top
According to the BrandZ report, Google have nobbled Apple and pushed them off of the top spot. Apple are now at number 2 having seen their brand value decline by 8% over the past year. Microsoft, AT&T and Facebook are at 3,4 and 5 with Facebook experiencing a 44% increase in brand value, rising from number 12 in last year’s survey.
Why keep score?
The BrandZ report provides a really valuable insight into consumer trends and the global marketplace, not just for retailers, but for all businesses. As discussed in our recent post about the future of retail; it is vital for retailers to examine growth areas in order to decide where they should focus their own activities. The data allows analysts to make educated predictions regarding the rise and fall of specific industries and the projected stability (or instability) of the global economy over the coming months.
Innovation and Disruption
As suggested in our retail insight blog post last week, technology is paving the way for sea changes in the way that we do everything – businesses must remain flexible and innovative in order to survive. According to recent trends, it is no surprise that the top 5 businesses in the report this year are technology firms. The Brandz report authors, Millward Brown concur:
“This was a stable year for the world’s most powerful brands in the face of global financial pressures, including the economic slowdown in China… and that innovation and disruption were major trends across all industries.
“Brands of all kinds moved to build a multi-faceted ecosystem around the consumer’s needs and desires, often by diversifying into new categories.”
Apparel also rising
Also notable in the report is the apparel category, which – after experiencing some decline in recent years – is rising once again, with a 14% increase in value this year to $114 billion. Within this sector, Nike saw a rise of 26% and newcomers Under Armour also made the list. Millward Brown suggest that this success is due in part to technology where sporting brands such as Nike have added value to their offer by incorporating wearable tech into their premium ranges. Built in heart monitors and integrated apps have broadened their market appeal by offering personalised products and enriching consumer experiences.
Technology invigorates brands
Technological innovation has also boosted growth in other brand sectors. Coffee chain Starbucks rose 49% over the year and the authors suggest that this was partly due to their convenient new smart phone app.
Global head of BrandZ, Millward Brown, Doreen Wang suggested that innovation and diversification have invigorated the strongest brands:
“By stretching their brands in innovative ways and expanding into new categories, the strongest brands in the Top 100 are increasing their penetration and their relevance in people’s day-to-day lives. There is a risk in doing this, however: It blurs the lines between categories and can leave brands struggling for identity. Defining and articulating a very clear positioning and purpose will play a more crucial part than ever in building a strong, distinct brand.”
According to David Roth, Chief Executive Officer, EMEA and Asia, The Store WPP; the brands that thrive are the ones which are flexible and respond quickly to change:
“The brands that thrive, regardless of sector, are those that behave like challengers and adopt disruptor models and mindsets. They’re shaking up other categories with innovation that goes beyond new products or technologies–transforming the way a service is delivered, enhancing the consumer experience or changing a format. The power these brands already hold, combined with the strength of their platforms, is enabling them to quickly and successfully move across sectors.”
Check out the full report at Brandz.com