The value of the BrandZ Top 50 Most Valuable German Brands 2018 is highly concentrated at the top of the ranking, with the number one brand alone – the technology giant SAP – accounting for 16 percent of the total brand value of the leading 50.
This is a pattern we see in other European markets, though the sheer power of the leading German brands is even more accentuated than in the UK and France – fairly comparable economies. The top five brands represent 10 per cent of the places in the ranking but punch well above their weight, delivering more than half of the value of the Top 50 brands combined. All of the Top 10 German brands are global leaders in their respective fields, and there are many others that are internationally recognized further down the ranking.
There is less concentration at the top of the Global Top 50 ranking because there are so many global mega brands, and their scale is more evenly matched.
Trends over time
Although this is the first BrandZ Ranking for Germany, our global valuations have included some German brands since 2006, which enables us to look at the progress of the Top 10 German brands over time.
The picture this paints is somewhat mixed. While German brands have fared poorly compared to the Top 10 Global brands over the past 12 years, they have outperformed leading local brands in other large European markets. The Top 10 German brands grew their value by 98 percent in that time, while leading French brands grew by 93 percent and the top UK brands grew by just 66 percent.
What the Top 10 German brands have done far more successfully than those from their European neighbors is drive significant growth in Brand Power, which is an indicator of the likelihood of a brand to be chosen over others in its category. The average Power score of the German Top 10 actually started, back in 2006, below the leading brands from the UK and France. Over 12 years, however, the German brands’ power soared, while the UK’s flatlined and France’s suffered a serious decline.
Fame is not enough
Over this 12-year period of tracking Germany’s Top 10 brands, it is clear that being well known – or what we at BrandZ call salience – has been the main driver of value growth. The other two elements of a brand in the mind of the consumer – being meaningful and being different – have grown little by comparison.
Fame can be a great advantage for a brand. When consumers think of a category, if a particular brand is the one that first springs to mind, then it’s ahead of the game. The Top 10 German brands have done a good job of amplifying what they stand for and getting that message out to consumers. But relying on salience or fame alone, at the expense of meaningful difference, is a risky game to play. Bold newcomers to a category can quickly find their way into people’s minds; it is then that it becomes so important for a brand to be not just well known, but known for something that really matters to people.