Home Articles What’s the world’s most biggest brand? The answer might surprise you

What’s the world’s most biggest brand? The answer might surprise you

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The recently released Brand Finance Global 500, tells us about the world’s biggest brands. In the examination that leads to the report each year, brands are put to the test. This year, the world’s more powerful brand, according to the report, is at first a bit surprising. It becomes less surprising though, upon thinking it over, though.

So who do you think the report says is the world’s most powerful brand? Google? Nope. Apple? Nuhhuh. Wal-Mart? Not even close. McDonalds? Get a McClue!

Ferrari is the world’s most powerful brand. The iconic Italian car maker scores highly on a wide variety of measures on Brand Finance’s Brand Strength Index, including measurements of desirability, loyalty and consumer sentiment, as well as visual identity, online presence and employee satisfaction. Ferrari is one of only eleven brands (including Google, Hermes, Coca-Cola, Disney, Rolex, and F1 racing rivals Red Bull) receiving an AAA+ brand rating and has the highest overall score.

The world’s most identifiable pony

In a recent statement, Brand Finance Chief Executive David Haigh stated, “The prancing horse on a yellow badge is instantly recognizable the world over, even where paved roads have yet to reach. In its home country and among its many admirers worldwide Ferrari inspires more than just brand loyalty, more of a cultish, even quasi-religious devotion, its brand power is indisputable.”

Though Ferrari is the world’s most powerful brand, being a niche, luxury brand with an officially capped production, it is unsurprising that Ferrari is far from the most valuable brand in the world. Ferrari’s $4 billion (USD) brand value puts it 350th in valuation.

David Haigh continues, “Apple also has a powerful brand, rated AAA by Brand Finance. However, what sets it apart is its ability to monetize that brand.”

“For example, though tablets were in use before the iPad, it was the application of the Apple brand to the concept that captured the public imagination and allowed it to take off as a commercial reality.”

This is just one of the factors responsible for Apple’s $105 billion (USD) brand value; Apple’s is the world’s most valuable brand for the third year in a row.

Samsung: contending for Apple’s crown

Of course, Samsung is hot on Apple’s heels. Samsung’s improving reputation for reliability, innovation, and variety are among many factors that have seen its brand value increase by $20 billion (USD) to $79 billion (USD) this year.

Other tech successes include Netflix, which has nearly doubled its brand value to appear in the Brand Finance Global 500 for the first time. Its value has grown 93% in a year to US$3.2 billion, to make Netflix the 468th most valuable brand. Still operating only in the Americas, Scandinavia, and the British Isles, there is huge potential for further growth.

Facebook meanwhile has recovered from its problematic IPO, which saw its reputation suffer and its brand value plunge in 2013. This year it has rebounded, adding 76% to its brand value to bring the total to $9.8 billion (USD), and landing it at 122nd in valuation. Investor confidence in its long-term prospects has returned as revenues from mobile advertising have grown.

Tech brands in general have tightened their grip on the Brand Finance Global 500. Walmart is the only non-tech brand remaining in the top 10. Once the world’s most valuable brand, it now sits in ninth, just behind Amazon. The usurpation of the world’s biggest retail brand by the biggest online retailer represents yet another coup for tech brands over ‘real-world’ businesses.

The World’s Most Valuable Brands (Top 20)

Rank 2014 Rank 2013 Brand Country Brand Value 2014 (USD bn) Brand Rating 2014 Brand Value Change (USD bn) Brand Value Change (%) Brand Value 2013 (USD bn) Brand Rating 2013
1 1 Apple US     104.68 AAA 17.38 20%     87.30 AAA
2 2 Samsung South Korea        78.75 AAA 19.98 34%     58.77 AAA
3 3 Google US        68.62 AAA+ 16.49 32%     52.13 AAA+
4 4 Microsoft US        62.78 AAA 17.25 38%     45.53 AAA-
5 10 Verizon US        53.47 AAA- 22.74 74%     30.73 AA+
6 7 General Electric US        52.53 AA+ 15.37 41%     37.16 AA
7 11 AT&T US        45.41 AA 15.00 49%     30.41 AA+
8 8 Amazon US        45.15 AAA- 8.36 23%     36.79 AAA-
9 5 Walmart US        44.78 AA+ 2.48 6%     42.30 AA+
10 6 IBM US        41.51 AA+ 3.79 10%     37.72 AA+
11 15 Toyota Japan        34.90 AAA- 8.92 34%     25.98 AA+
12 9 Coca Cola US        33.72 AAA+ -0.48 -1%     34.20 AAA+
13 20 China Mobile Hong Kong        31.84 AA+ 8.55 37%     23.30 AA
14 n/a T Germany        30.61 AA 9.06 42%     21.54 AA+
15 14 Wells Fargo US        30.24 AAA- 4.20 16%     26.04 AA+
16 13 Vodafone UK        29.61 AAA- 2.60 10%     27.01 AAA
17 21 BMW Germany        28.96 AAA 5.73 25%     23.24 AAA
18 12 Shell Netherlands        28.57 AA+ -1.18 -4%     29.75 AAA-
19 17 Volkswagen Germany        27.06 AAA- 3.40 14%     23.67 AAA-
20 22 HSBC UK        26.87 AAA 4.01 18%     22.86 AAA-

Sinking Nokia Takes Finland Down With It

US brands continue to dominate Brand Finance’s list, occupying 185 brands of the 500 spots. Japan is second. Despite 7 Japanese brands having dropped out of the running, the total for the country as a whole is up thanks to brand value increases of over 30% from Japan’s three biggest brands; Toyota, Mitsubishi and Honda.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ‘Abenomics’ programme has begun to pay off and global demand for Japanese goods is improving. Germany, France and the UK complete the top 5. Despite China’s status as the world’s second biggest economy, it is 6th in terms of total brand value as its brands are still developing. Huawei and Baidu have both increased their brand values by over 50%. While controversial for their close associations with the Chinese government, both are likely to exert increasing influence around the world in the next few years.

Nations that have not fared quite so favourably include Finland. The country’s only brand, Nokia, has finally been squeezed out of the table after years of slow decline. Nokia has continued to hemorrhage brand value as a result of its inability to effectively counter the challenge Apple and Samsung. Falling out of the Brand Finance Global 500, it follows Blackberry, which dropped out of the top 500 last year.

The BRIC nations of Russia, India and in particular Brazil have also fared relatively poorly. The number of Brazilian brands in the table is down from 9 to 5 and those that remain have all lost over 20% of their brand value.

One Indian brand has dropped out of the table and several of those that remain have fallen further down the rankings. Tata, which owns Jaguar Cars, India’s flagship brand is the exception however, climbing to 34th worldwide with a brand value of $21.1 billion (USD) – perhaps on the wings of the company’s recent success with the F-Type.

Click here for the full Brand Finance Global 500

Total Brand Value by Country
Country Total Brand Value 2014 (USD bn) Total Brand Value 2013 (USD bn) Brand Value Change (USD bn) Brand Value Change (%) Number of Brands in Top 500 2014 Number of Brands in Top 500 2013
United States 1,908.6 1,614.6 294.0 18% 185 185
Japan 376.7 338.7 38.0 11% 42 49
Germany 324.0 247.0 77.0 31% 32 33
France 266.0 212.5 53.4 25% 37 31
Britain 262.1 218.4 43.7 20% 35 32
China 229.0 185.3 43.7 24% 27 26
South Korea 152.0 132.8 19.2 14% 12 14
Switzerland 120.8 97.3 23.5 24% 19 19
Netherlands 112.0 93.8 18.2 19% 12 11
Spain 76.2 70.6 5.6 8% 10 10
Canada 75.4 74.0 1.3 2% 13 14
Hong Kong 69.9 41.5 28.4 68% 7 4
Italy 57.2 51.3 5.9 11% 8 8
Sweden 54.8 50.5 4.3 8% 7 8
Australia 50.3 43.9 6.4 15% 8 8
Russia 42.2 46.4 -4.2 -9% 8 8
Brazil 37.8 59.9 -22.1 -37% 5 9
India 35.7 40.6 -4.9 -12% 5 6
Norway 15.8 16.5 -0.7 -5% 3 3
Denmark 10.2 7.0 3.3 47% 3 2
Austria 9.6 3.7 5.9 160% 2 1
Malaysia 9.2 9.9 -0.7 -8% 1 2
Uae 8.9 7.3 1.7 23% 2 2
Saudi Arabia 8.0 3.3 4.7 141% 2 1
Mexico 7.8 17.8 -9.9 -56% 2 4
Chile 7.4 3.0 4.4 146% 2 1
Singapore 7.3 9.3 -2.1 -22% 2 3
South Africa 5.4 5.2 0.2 4% 1 1
Luxembourg 4.8 3.8 1.0 26% 1 1
Taiwan 3.8 3.0 0.7 25% 1 1
Thailand 3.7 2.6 1.1 44% 1 1
Portugal 3.1 2.8 0.3 11% 1 1
Total Brand Value by Sector
Sector Total Brand Value 2014 (USD bn) Total Brand Value 2013 (USD bn) Brand Value Change (USD bn) Brand Value Change (%) Number of Brands in Top 500 2014 Number of Brands in Top 500 2013
 Banks 633.1 581.4 51.8 9% 71 64
 Technology 615.8 488.7 127.0 26% 44 43
 Telecommunications 500.1 385.0 115.1 30% 47 46
 Retail 408.9 338.9 70.0 21% 50 50
 Conglomerate 313.1 257.9 55.3 21% 16 18
 Automobiles 289.7 244.1 45.7 19% 28 28
 Oil & Gas 216.0 212.9 3.1 1% 26 24
 Insurance 190.9 141.1 49.9 35% 29 27
 Media 149.1 120.6 28.5 24% 19 19
 Beverages 101.8 88.4 13.4 15% 13 12
 Utilities 94.4 86.0 8.4 10% 17 19
 Food 86.5 64.4 22.1 34% 14 15
 Cosmetics 86.1 67.5 18.5 27% 13 12
 Transportation 69.5 53.8 15.7 29% 9 13
 Engineering 59.9 51.4 8.5 17% 16 11
 Others 552.2 429.6 122.7 29% 88 99
 Global 500 4,367.1 3,611.6 755.6 500 500
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