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There are some brands that punch well above their financial weight in the BrandZ™ rankings by building strong brand equity in consumers’ minds. This brand equity serves as a sort of “power-up” advantage that enhances all areas of a brand’s influence and value, and we measure it through a metric called Brand Contribution.


Brand Contribution is scored on a scale of one to five, and it is a measure of the influence of brand equity on relative to other in-market aspects (such as promotions or distribution) in driving consumer choice. Competitors can take steps to match your brand’s price or availability, but consumer value derived from brand equity is particularly hard for your competition to replicate. The Brand Contribution score is what helps make BrandZ™ a distinct and important ranking; BrandZ™ is the only brand valuation methodology that includes the customer view obtained through in-depth consumer research – conversations with the people who know and buy these brands.


Businesses that focus on brand development can turbocharge their performance in the rankings. For example, Yakult and Mizuho Bank have very similar brand values, and rank 18th and 19th in the Japanese Top 50. Mizuho Bank is a much bigger financial concern than Yakult, with more monetary value, but it has a Brand Contribution score of one out of five. Yakult, meanwhile, makes up for its comparative lack of financial size with a Brand Contribution score of five out of five – the highest possible. Yakult’s Brand Contribution, alongside its highly valued place in consumers’ lives, powers the brand to a place just ahead of Mizuho Bank.


The Japanese brands that rank highest for Brand Contribution in 2019 come from a wide variety of industries, suggesting that companies of all stripes can boost their competitive standing by investing in strong brands. Top brands on this index include Yakult, LINE, and SK-II, with scores of five out of five. Brands from the cars, personal care, retail, food, alcohol, logistics, beverage, home care, and airline industries were right behind this top tier, with strong scores of four out of five.