Germany’s strongest brands deliver 11% growth in value
Top 50 brands worth US$340.8 billion
The combined brand value of the 50 brands to make the 2019 Top 50 is almost $341 billion – an increase of 11 percent over the value of the leading 50 German brands in 2018. The rate of growth is slower than that of French brands over the past year but more than double the rate enjoyed by the leading UK brands. German brands might not be fastest-growing in the region, but they are the most valuable; collectively, they rank behind only China and the USA for combined brand value.
Global software giant leads ranking once again
The fast-growing software specialist SAP is Germany’s most valuable brand for the second year running, with a brand value of US$50,937 million in 2019. This represents an increase in value of 4 percent since last year, reflecting the fact that SAP’s client base has expanded by 78,000 in the past year alone, taking the total number to over 413,000 in over 180 countries. The brand’s promise goes beyond its services: “SAP helps the best-run businesses make the world run better,” its 2018 campaign says. SAP recently announced the $8 billion acquisition of survey software business Qualtrics.
VW bounces back to lead year’s fastest risers
“The People’s Car” has posted a tremendous recovery from the very public humiliation of what became known around the world as “Dieselgate”, in which several major automotive manufacturers were found to have been cheating emissions tests. VW was not alone in this, but it was the first to be found out and was most closely linked to the scandal. In the past year, though, Volkswagen’s brand value has risen 66 percent, making it the fastest-growing brand in the Top 50.
Laundry leaders among newcomers
The laundry detergent Persil is among 14 new brands to make the Top 50 in a newly expanded study that now includes 18 categories. Continental, best known for car tires, is the highest-ranking new arrival worth over $8 billion and making its BrandZ debut in 13th place; other newcomers include car rental giant Sixt, fabric softener brand Lenor, the frozen food delivery service Bofrost, and travel agency AIDA, among many others.
Brand health adds to the bottom line
BrandZ uses five key indicators of health to determine the overall wellbeing of a brand. German brands perform well when compared to the leading brands from other markets, and those that we class as most healthy have outperformed the rest over the past year in terms of value growth. The healthiest have grown 5 percent in brand value, while the most “frail” have grown by just 1 percent.
The thrill is gone
German brands excel at many things, but it seems they’re lacking when it comes to being lovable. In fact, the top German brands are less loved than those in almost every other European market, and significantly less loved than brands from the United States. They’re even less loved than the leading German brands were 12 months ago. A dip in trust among the biggest brands is partly to blame, but there’s also a personality problem. The leading German brands are seen as being assertive and in control, but attractive brand traits such as being fun and being kind have declined.
Brand Germany rises in stature
Germany has risen from fourth to third place in the world on the annual global “Best Countries” ranking, developed in part by WPP’s VML Y&R BAV Group. The country has climbed above the UK with its strong reputation for openness, high standards of education and its political influence internationally. Germany is first for entrepreneurship out of 80 countries, followed by Japan, the US, the UK and Switzerland.
Top learnings for marketers
1 A healthy brand means a valuable brand
There’s a strong correlation between the BrandZ measure of good health, what we call the “Vitality Quotient” (vQ), and growing brand value. And this year’s German ranking shows that health isn’t predetermined by the business sector in which a brand operates. The healthiest brands this year are highly diverse – including DHL, Lufthansa, Nivea and Aldi – showing that when brands give themselves a workout, they can build up brand muscle in the right places to deliver value.
2 Be driven by something other than profit
The brands that have a strong purpose beyond what they produce or deliver every day are viewed more favorably by consumers, and ultimately generate stronger value growth. A brand’s purpose must be more than a PR statement every now and then, which doesn’t just fail to impress consumers, it can lead to a backlash. Have a genuine mission to do something for the greater good, make sure you do something about it, then make sure it is clearly seen as part of the brand’s DNA.
3 Trust and love are closely linked
When German brands start thinking about how to address the lack of love they inspire among consumers, they would do well to start by thinking about trust. There’s a strong correlation between those brands that people trust, and the ones they fall in love with. Love matters not just because every brand wants to be loved, but because love can sustain a brand in the mind of the consumer in the times when it’s not announcing new products and innovations.
4 Be different, in a way consumers care about
Being different to other brands is one way of standing out from the crowd, but it’s important that what sets a brand apart is seen as important to the people it’s targeting. We call this “meaningful difference” and it’s this that makes a difference to success in the market and a rise in brand value.
5 Consumer love requires emotion
German brands have many strengths that appeal to consumers’ rational mind, but the biggest often overlook the need to form emotional bonds and communicate with creativity. And it’s emotional, creative communications that leads to brand love. Be warm and friendly, and love may follow.