Highlights of the BrandZ Top 50
2019 was a story of growth—particularly for French luxury and premium sector brands. The total value for BrandZ French Top 50 most valuable brands in 2020 reached $309,671 million, up 6 percent from $292,151 million in 2019.
And the popularity of its brands is surging not only in the domestic market, but globally. “France was one of the best countries for growth in 2019 and growth is outperforming GDP,” says Graham Staplehurst, Global Strategy Director at BrandZ and Kantar, who compiled the BrandZ France 2020 report. “Growth is being led by the premium sector—luxury brands and premium personal care. In fact, luxury is so dominant in France’s growth story, without it, France would not have grown for 2020.”
Six out of the 10 fastest-rising brands in BrandZ Top 50 2020 are in the luxury or premium sectors. “France’s international brand strength shields it from domestic challenges and allows it to unlock pockets of new growth,” says Staplehurst.
France’s BrandZ Top 50 2020 ranking is also top heavy, with the high-ranking players showing a high concentration of value and growth. Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Hermès, L’Oréal Paris and Orange, the most valuable five brands in 2020’s ranking, are emerging as global powerhouses, with concentrated brand value of $178,808 million, more than four times the total value of the next five brands on the list. Luxury brands also dominate the fastest risers of BrandZ Top 50 2020.
Luxury and personal care: A powerful combination
Luxury and personal care combined have the largest number of brands in the BrandZ Most Valuable French Brands France Top 50 2020, together representing two thirds of the total brand value at 66 percent.
“France’s position as the preeminent provider of the better things in life is cemented when we consider also the premium alcohol brands included in the France Top 50 2020, including cognac and champagne,” says Staplehurst. These three premium sectors, together valued at $216,062 million, at are now collectively leading France’s brand growth, while banks, food, beverages and utilities are in decline. (2020 saw declines of between 2 and 5 percent for the latter brand sectors.)
Purpose and Innovation: Key pillars
Brand purpose and innovation are key to growth in brand equity. Decathlon, Total, EDF, Michelin and Renault were collectively associated strongly with Innovation in 2019 and drove up associated value by two points. Carrefour, Sephora, Auchan, Renault, Crédit Agricole and Moët & Chandon drove up value for purpose-based initiatives.
From “less bad” to “more good”: Substantive CSR becomes base-level expectation for French brands
It’s clear that today that French consumers see environmental, ethical and social responsibility as essential criteria. In other words, CSR initiatives are no longer a novelty, but an essential. Our analysts have also found that, as Communications have blurred with the social responsibility space, the amount of value they now add to French brand equity is slowing down. “Purpose is essential for French brands now. However, with communication/positioning and purpose converging towards more CSR, we see a slowdown of CSR commitment in creating brand value growth,” says Staplehurst. He adds that the luxury sector still has room to grow, and opportunity in the Purpose space. “Luxury and premium sector brands still fall behind the average for corporate reputation, environmental responsibility and social responsibility.”
International presence fueling French brand growth
Meaning, differentiation and international salience are key factors for BrandZ Top 50 Most Valuable French Brands. “The most valuable French brands are not as strong domestically as many other countries’ top brands—but this is because they are very strong in equity overseas,” explains Staplehurst. For French brands, being meaningful and different have been the biggest drivers of brand growth internationally. And, unsurprisingly, the most meaningful and different brands in France BrandZ’s Top 50 are mainly luxury brands. “We are seeing that, while salience is important for sustaining value, difference and meaning drive value growth,” says Staplehurst, “differentiating and connecting meaningfully with consumers is key.”