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Brand Value 2020

Brand Value 2020

Luxury and premium categories dominate the BrandZ Top 50 ranking. Carrefour is also back in to the top 10 for 2020. The brand focusses on omnichannel, e-commerce and innovating the retail experience. AXA insurance and telecoms giants Orange and SFR also make the top tier. Year on year, the power of French brands is becoming more concentrated and seeing more growth, largely thanks to international popularity and prestige in both established and flourishing new economies. France’s blue-chip luxury brand stable has also evolved to embrace a rapidly evolving younger luxury consumer seeking connected experiences, exclusive sportswear, diversity in representation (and among designers), and the new ethical and sustainable spirit starting to pervade in luxury. These major luxury players are doubling down on ultra-lavish brand experiences—from fashion shows to branded private townhouses—to reward their most loyal and wealthy clientele, while using experiences elsewhere to create evocative social media content and engage entry-level consumers. This, in turn, has created a barrier to entry for smaller brands with less resources, as each experience, stage set, and destination show is more extravagant than the next.

The Top 10 Most valuable French brands also share focus on technology and innovation. L’Oréal continues to invest in new beauty tech advances, from exploring biotech to photo recognition tools like Modiface to sensor diagnostic tools such as wearable appliances that measure skin pH. Garnier has been piloting virtual hair dye tools in stores. Orange has diversified into mobile payments and wallets. Dior, one of 2020’s stars, has been blurring innovation with art, working with Japanese artist Hajime Sorayama to create a futuristic giant female robot for Dior’s Pre-Fall 2019 menswear show in Tokyo.


1. Louis Vuitton, Luxury, $53,407m

2. Chanel, Luxury, $43,038m

3. Hermès, Luxury, $34,623m

4. L’Oréal Paris, Personal Care, $27,828m

5. Orange, Telecom Provider, $19,912m

6. Lancôme, Personal Care, $13,052m

7. Garnier, Personal Care, $7,061m

8. AXA, Insurance, $6,991m

9. SFR, Telecom Provider, $6,885m

10. Carrefour, Retail, $6,392m

2020 Rising up the Ranks: A Luxury Story

Whether it’s alcohol brands like Martell (our number one riser for 2020), or Clarins (personal care, our third-biggest riser), or Saint Laurent/YSL (luxury, our fourth-biggest riser), it’s clear that luxury and premium offerings are integral to French brand strength and value. The common thread here is international strength and recognition, and emphasis on communication and experiences. Luxury brands have made by far the biggest gains for 2020.

The Top 50 ranking has two new players in the shape of Europcar (car rental) and Bouygues Telecom. Intrinsic to their growth have been BrandZ’s five key levers: Purpose, Innovation, Communication, Experience and Love. Both brands have shown activity in these key territories and it’s no accident that this has led to success.  

TOP 10 RISERS 2020

1. Martell, Brand Value 2020 $1,041m, Brand Value 2019 $791m, up 32% on 2019.

2. Dior, Brand Value 2020 $5,267m, Brand Value 2019 $4,393m, up 20% on 2019.

3. Clarins, Brand Value 2020 $1,366m, Brand Value 2019 $1,140m, up 20% on 2019.

4. Saint Laurent, Brand Value 2020 $4,303m, Brand Value 2019 $3,596m, up 20% on 2019.

5. Louis Vuitton, Brand Value 2020 $53,407m, Brand Value 2019 $46,357m, up 15% on 2019.

6. Lancôme, Brand Value 2020 $13,052m, Brand Value 2019 $11,452m, up 14% on 2019.

7. La Roche-Posay, Brand Value 2020 $1,617m, Brand Value 2019 $1,424m, up 14% on 2019.

8. Givenchy, Brand Value 2020 $2,199m, Brand Value 2019 $1,939m, up 13% on 2019.

9. Céline, Brand Value 2020 $1,221m, Brand Value 2019 $1,094m, up 12% on 2019.

10. Hermès, Brand Value 2020 $34,623m, Brand Value 2019 $31,520m, up 10% on 2019.



Dior is among our top rising luxury brands for 2020, having gone up 20 percent in brand value, adding $874m to its 2019 value of $4,393. The brand is known for its shows and its sleek campaigns, and our analysis found its strongest performance is in Communication, closely followed by Experience and Innovation. It also ranks above average for Purpose (among other activities, Creative Director Maria Grazia Chiuri flies the flag for feminism in luxury fashion with statement-making shows).

“Within France, Dior is seen as different and innovative, and offers a strong brand experience,” says Staplehurst. “Outside of France, it’s been very strong at building emotional bonds. You see this in the UK, one of its strongest markets. Dior has also been effective at combining heritage with refreshing its product offering and marketing, while also embracing social media effectively.”

Dior is part of the continued global luxury wave. The luxury category is the fastest growing category in the Global T100 2019, growing by 29% vs 2018. Within that, Dior is the fastest-growing luxury brand, and was overall 15th Global Top Riser in 2019. Its global brand power continues to rise. Globally, between 2016 and 2019, it has grown six points, in China by a staggering 23 points, and in the US by 25 points.

Dior has evolved its beauty offering at the low and top end, and has created in-store beauty boutiques that include fragrance lines, as well as introducing more accessible cosmetics lines. The brand has gradually expanded into new categories, including fine jewelry, particularly in China where it has opened jewelry-exclusive stores, promoting its floral ring designs as engagement rings.

It also maintains strong links to its heritage. Dior Heritage, the brand’s archive museum, has moved into a new space in Paris called One Dior. In London, a 2019 exhibition dedicated to fashion house Christian Dior broke the Victoria & Albert Museum’s attendance record, attracting almost 595,000 people in seven months.

New Arrivals 2020

Two new brands joined the Top 50 this year. Both operate in challenged or competitive sectors.

2020 Rank 38


Car Rental


2020 Rank 48

Bouygues Telecom

Telecom Providers


Innovation leads the way to growth

Bouygues Telecom, part of the Bouygues group, is a French mobile phone, internet service provider and IPTV company and a major player in the French electronic communications market. It’s been investing steadily in innovation. The company has also invested in 5G, connecting the Internet of Things in a series of partnerships. To support its Internet of Things initiatives, it has created a dedicated subsidiary, Objenious, aimed at connecting millions of objects in French cities.

Europcar operates in over 140 countries across the world and claims 27% of the European car rental market. It has diversified into disruptive new transport mediums, from scooters to ride-sharing to electric pay-for-use cars. In 2019, as part of its exploration into the future of urban mobility, the Mobility Lab arm of Europcar Mobility Group joined forces with incubator Plug and Play’s Paris-based Smart Cities platform, aiming to “identify the mobility solutions of tomorrow, while supporting start-ups participating in the Smart Cities program.”

Brand contribution

BrandZ valuations are unique because they are the only ones to incorporate consumer data...  The BrandZ Brand Contribution metric assesses the extent to which brand alone, independent of financial or market factors, drives purchasing volume and enables a brand  to command  a price premium  and it enables financially smaller brands to punch above their weight in the Top 50 ranking.

Two brands with similar financial scale can therefore find themselves in quite different positions in the ranking. This is because there is a difference in the proportion of their financial value that is brand-driven, rather than market-driven; and this can propel them up or down the Top 50.

In the French Top 50, the brand contribution can be different for different brands. Rémy Martin, for example, which ranks 27th this year, scores five out of five for brand contribution. This means a high proportion of its financial value is driven by the brand and supercharges it, so it achieves a brand value of $2,187 million.

Although Crédit Agricole is much bigger financially than Rémy Martin, it has just a slightly higher brand value, placed at $2,232 million for 2020, as it has a lower brand contribution score (two out of five).

In essence, what we’re saying is that brand strength contributes to growth. Here’s why:

Healthy brand, healthy bottom line

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.

It starts with a PURPOSE (making people’s lives better).

Decathlon, Michelin, Air France and EDF have an especially strong sense of purpose for 2020.

Brands must be INNOVATIVE, ideally in a way that underlines that purpose, which means they’re seen as leading the way in their sector and shaking things up.

Sephora, EDF, Decathlon and Peugeot are ranked in the top 10 for this in 2020.

They must also be creative, with powerful, memorable advertising and COMMUNICATIONS.

Think here of Dior, Orange, Air France, and Perrier.

They provide a great BRAND EXPERIENCE that meets consumers’ needs and is available when and where consumers need it.

Hennessy, Dior, and Louis Vuitton are great at providing a memorable brand experience.

Over time, consumers develop a strong sense of LOVE towards the brand.

People love sector-leading brands such as Martell, EDF, Carte d’Or and Free.

When a brand is strong on all five of these attributes (scoring five percent above average), they have healthy “vital signs” and we say they’re healthy brands overall. If they are lacking in any one area, they are at risk of damaging their brand health and underperforming in the market. If they fail on all five measures (99 or less compared to an average score for all brands of 100), they are classed as “frail.”

There are four brands that appear in each of the top 10 healthiest brands categories for 2020: Decathlon, Michelin, Air France and EDF. Overall, they make up nearly 4% of the total brand value. Despite being in challenged sectors such as travel and energy, they’ve held on to their value and, in retailer Decathlon’s case, even risen up the rankings. Meanwhile, almost all companies that were ranked low on brand health have seen declines in value this year.

And if you’re still not convinced about the value of investing in all five elements of brand health, let’s compare the 48 French brands that appeared in last year’s Top 50 and have made the ranking again this year.

Being healthy is a huge driver of brand value growth, and the brands that are strong in all these indicators of vitality post the strongest growth. The brands that are new to the French Top 50 this year are significantly healthier than those that have dropped out, but the healthiest brands in the ranking overall are the continuing giants—the likes of Louis Vuitton, Hermès, L’Oréal, Orange and Michelin.


Decathlon, EDF, Air France and Michelin each rank among the Top 10 brands across all five aspects of brand health in 2020. What these brands have in common, aside from operating in increasingly crowded and highly competitive sectors, is that they are distinctively French and trusted, as well as highly adaptive and dynamic. They are true to their DNA and are also attaching their brand not just to a vertical but also a bigger platform. For Air France it’s about experiences—and how technology, brand, and “brand France” connect to that audience. For Michelin, it’s about safety and driver control, while for Decathlon it’s making fitness accessible—with both brands looking to increasingly creative innovative store models.

All four of these brands are innovative, adapting their offer to changing consumer demands. Each one is also increasingly committed to the intersection of sustainability and technology, and baking this into public announcements and purpose communication.


As we’ve discussed, consumers are increasingly challenging brands to clean up their act, address environmental damage and step in to solve world problems. And smart brands are seeing an opportunity in acting boldly when it comes to purpose and in being purpose-driven talent beacons, with 88% of Millennials now saying they want to work for companies whose values reflect their own, as reported by PwC’s “Workforce of the Future” survey.

French brands are driving forward with purpose. In the Global Top 30 rankings, France rose two points in 2019, ahead of Canada, the UK and Australia. Six French brands from our BrandZ Top 50 ranking also made it to the Global Top 30 for Purpose. These include Carrefour, Sephora, Auchan, Renault, Crédit Agricole and Moët & Chandon.

Leading brands in the Top 50 Purpose

In the category of purpose, five brands ranked highest for BrandZ France 2020.

  1. Decathlon
  2. Michelin
  3. Air France
  4. EDF
  5. Leroy Merlin

Purpose: Spotlight on Michelin

Michelin, ranked overall at 11 this year, has been living its purpose throughout 2019, particularly with purpose-driven innovation. Michelin is innovating in sustainability, committing to using tires made from 80 percent sustainable materials and aiming to recycle 100 percent of its tires by 2048. In June 2019 at the annual international Movin’On Summit on sustainable mobility, Michelin presented a prototype tire that is airless, puncture proof and of unprecedented durability. Michelin and Safran Landing Systems also announced the successful flight tests of the first connected aircraft tire, PresSense. This is a wireless solution for aircraft tires, designed to facilitate maintenance operations for airlines. An electronic sensor measures tire pressure and transmits this data wirelessly.


Innovation has become a mandate not only for PR and communications, but also for talent retention and relevance. Investment in being innovative—and in being seen to be so—has a very real effect on the way consumers feel about a brand which, in turn, drives brand value. More recently we’re seeing a trend towards innovation in purpose, sustainability and conclusion, as well as thinking beyond technology to new concepts, adjacencies, and partnerships.

What’s interesting is that Innovation no longer exists in a silo. There is a powerful link between innovation and emotional attachment, which makes a real difference to the bottom line. A look at the strongest global brands tracked over a decade reveals that the most loved brands more than doubled their brand value in that time, while the least loved grew by less than a quarter. When innovation delivers a meaningful benefit to consumers, they appreciate the brand even more and this reinforces their emotional attachment—and even prevents them looking elsewhere.

The range of sectors represented by these brands is a powerful reminder that while it’s often technological innovation that fuels headlines, category is no barrier to creativity and a spirit of boldness to explore new ideas. It’s telling, for example, that Sephora and Dior are featured on the top 10 list of Innovative brands.


1. Decathlon – Innovation score 155

2. Michelin – Innovation score 133

3. Free – Innovation score 124

4. EDF – Innovation score 122

5. Engie – Innovation score 120

France moving forward: Closing the innovation gap

This year, French Top 30 brands rose two points, from 106 in 2019 to 108 in 2020, in terms of innovation perception, surpassing the UK (105), the Netherlands (106) and Italy (107). In terms of individual brands, Decathlon rose by 13 points, EDF by 10, Total by six, and Michelin and Renault both by five. It’s clear that French brands are betting big on innovation to stay ahead of tumultuous times and lead the way.

Innovation averages

(Top 50 2020)

The average score of all brands is 100 (Italy and Spain are Top 30)

Innovation Spotlight: Decathlon

Decathlon is leading in 2020 across all key measures: Purpose, Innovation, Love, Communication and Brand Experience. Purpose and Communication are its strongest attributes, and it is also recognized for “leading the way” and being socially responsible. Decathlon is at 22 in our ranking but made our top five for Innovation. In 2019, the brand has been increasingly focused on digital shopping, both online and through in-store staff equipped with tablets. In June 2019, it unveiled a connected concept store in the Confluence shopping center in Lyon, with an emphasis on experiences, interactivity and lessons, and a dedicated app to make appointments for sessions or with in-store experts.

Brand experiences: The future of French brands

Experiences have become central to driving brand equity in 2020—not to mention becoming a key vertical in themselves. LVMH has made several experience-related acquisitions in the past year, not least the luxury Belmond travel group, while also expanding its exclusive Cheval Blanc hotel collection to London. Experiential marketing and branded experiences remain a major touchpoint, and experiences have also become intertwined with communication—emerging as 2020’s biggest drivers of growth for brands. Iconic French staple brands and those in the luxury arena are among the key brands getting it right.  

1. Decathlon

2. Michelin

3. EDF

4. Air France

5. Hennessy

6. Leroy Merlin

7. Orange

8. Free

9. Dior

10. Louis Vuitton

Experiential innovator: Louise Vuitton

Louis Vuitton, our number one brand this year, was also ranked in the top 10 brands for Experience. And the brand keeps upping the ante in this respect. This summer it introduced Louis Vuitton X, an immersive journey in Los Angeles through the house’s 160-year history of creative exchanges and artistic collaborations. Taking over a virtual block and covering a historic building with rainbow hues, it invited customers to discover 180 items from Louis Vuitton’s archives and shop at its pop-up. Its newly unveiled Bond Street store in London features an outsize, futuristic rainbow-hued sculpture on the façade. It recently announced LVTV, a new “fashiontainment” initiative with YouTube. The brand has also collaborated with Riot Games phenomenon League of Legends on a capsule collection.