Top 100 US Brands worth $3.16 trillion
The combined value of the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable United States Brands 2018 is $3.2 trillion. The top 10 alone account for $1.6 trillion, or half of the total value.
Sitting at the top in terms of value are 5 technology giants, whose influence is recognized around the globe: Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Facebook—also known as the Fearsome Five. They soar above well known and loved brands like Coca-Cola, due to both their scale, and the intimate and often essential role they play in their consumers’ lives.
Google and Apple lead the pack, by a lot
While the top 5 United States brands are all technology giants, the top 2 are peerless in total value. Google, the most valuable brand, checks in at $286 billion, while Apple is close behind at $279 billion. From there, the next closest brand is Amazon at $165 billion, with Microsoft right at its heels. Part of the reason for the Google/Apple divergence is likely the vast amount their customers spend with them. The two live on handsets, PC’s, and all manner of digital devices, performing hundreds of tasks daily for people around the world.
Amazon shows the greatest growth over time
This is the first year BrandZ has valued all top 100 United States brands. However, many of these brands have been valued as part of the global top 100, which gives some insight into how some of these brands have fared over time. And Amazon has clearly been the fastest grower in Brand Value since 2006. This reflects its rapid emergence as a dominant ecommerce and entertainment player through its Prime service. It also ranks second-highest among American brands in Brand Experience (FedEx is first), showing how important a customer’s interaction with a brand is in building a relationship.
American brands are extremely meaningfully different
Brands are meaningful when they fulfil a customers’ needs. They show difference when customers perceive them as unique. To rank highly in terms of meaningful difference, brands need to find ways not merely to provide excellent products and services, they must find ways to do so in ways unlike any other. In BrandZ analysis, the average score for a brand on this measure is 100. For a brand to rate highly on meaningful difference, they need to score over 110. But great American brands tend to do even better, with Apple leading the pack at a mind-boggling 187. The top 10 American brands by this measure are all extremely meaningfully different.
Meaningful difference builds healthy brands
Just as there are many contributors to human wellbeing, there are multiple factors that contribute towards a healthy brand. BrandZ™ analysis has identified five key attributes shared by healthy, strong, and valuable brands: purpose, innovation, communication, and experience, out of which consumers develop a strong sense of love. We call these the Vitality Quotient. Meaningful difference shows a strong correlation with this measure, which shows that meaningfully different brands are healthy brands (or that healthy brands are meaningfully different).
Strong brands get stronger
Brand contribution, or the amount of value directly attributable to the brand itself, is a key predictor of brand growth. For example, brands that rank in the bottom on this measure have lost 10% in value in the past 12 years—a surprising fact given how much value has risen overall. Meanwhile brands that rank highly on brand contribution grew 3,074 percent on average, showing exactly how powerful a strong brand can be and how important it is to maintain a healthy brand.
Select fast food brands grow faster
Surprisingly, technology brands have not dominated the charts for fastest brand growth over the last 12 years. Instead, half of the top 10 fastest risers were fast food brands. Many of the brands, like Domino’s, are growing due to their adoption of technology to drive convenience. Their growth also reflects a halo effect that digital technology and Brand Experience are having on every category. As the world moves ever faster, those who provide reliable services quickly should continue to benefit.
Fastest growing brands: 2006-2017
America brands are incredibly strong
The biggest takeaway from the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable US Brands is just how strong American brands are. Fifty-four brands from the United States were included in the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands ranking, and the scores for individual brands on metrics like Meaningful Difference or Brand Contribution are often distinctly higher than seen in peer countries. The indication is clear: America’s business leaders are making investments in brands, and they’re paying off.
Top 5 learnings for marketers
1 Start with purpose
In a divided world, a brand should stand for something beyond providing a good product or service. It needs a brand purpose, which BrandZ research defines as making people’s lives better in some way. This purpose need not be determined solely by category or even type of business. It simply links a brand to a higher goal and enables it to act consistently and positively, whether on social media or even in times of change. The top three American brands in terms of purpose are FedEx, Pampers, and UPS—all of which solve larger problems for their consumers.
2 Innovate everywhere
Innovation is not merely for technology companies. While Tesla, perhaps unsurprisingly, ranks above the rest of the top 100, for this measure Disney ranks ahead of both Apple and Amazon, likely thanks to innovations like its MagicBand, which make visiting its theme parks an easy experience. In other words, any brand can both innovate and also make a clear impression with consumers that it is doing so.
3 Drive salience with relevance
Salience is a key driver of brand health. It measures how quickly a customer recognizes a brand and understands what it does and stands for. Brands achieve salience primarily through effective communication. In today’s world, consumers are bombarded continually with messages to the point that many reflexively tune them out, passing by things like email solicitations and online ads as if they were invisible. To break through, brands must communicate in ways that are both relevant to the moment and sensitive to context. Top brands tend to pick their spots and speak with leadership and authority.
4 Close the deal with Brand Experience
You can innovate effectively and communicate brilliantly, but if the experience of your brand is poor, none of that will matter. Consumers today have the means to make or break brands. If you meet every expectation and more, they’ll let others know. Fall down and you can expect a swift reaction too. Brands that rank highly on this measure, like FedEx and Amazon, deliver on their promise with a consistency that borders on obsession.
5 Make them fall in love
Lovable brands in the United States often come from humble categories, with the most loved of all being diaper brand - Pampers. This shows that any brand can achieve love over time. Love is a long term challenge, requiring consistent effort to meet consumer needs, but it can keep a brand alive in a consumer’s mind during quiet periods and sustain its value over time.