The BrandZ™ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands increased 12 percent, to $2.9 trillion, following a 7 percent rise a year earlier.
The combined brand value of the BrandZ™ Global Top 100 has almost doubled in eight years, since its inception in 2006.
Since 2006, the stock market values of the BrandZ™ Strong Brands Portfolio, a subset of the BrandZ™ Global Top 100, has appreciated 81.1 percent, significantly outperforming the 44.7 percent rise in the S&P 500 over the same period.
Google claimed the number one rank in the BrandZ™ Global Top 100.
Apparel led all categories in overall brand value growth with a 29 percent rise, following 21 percent a year earlier.
All 14 categories increased in brand value, 10 of them with double-digits.
Only 18 of the Top 100 brands lost value this year, compared with an average of 30 brands each year since the BrandZ™ Global Top 100 rankings started in 2006. An average of 31 brands annually lost value since the financial crisis of 2008.
Tencent, the Chinese social network and Internet portal, led the list of fastest risers with a 97 percent increase in brand value, overtaking China Mobile as China’s most valuable brand.
Facebook (up 68 percent), Baidu, China’s leading search engine (46 percent) and Yahoo! (44 percent) also made the Top 20 Risers.
Twitter and LinkedIn entered the Top 100 for the first time, at numbers 71 and 78, respectively. Amazon entered the Top 10 at number 10, the first retailer to achieve this distinction.
With Microsoft up several slots, after a 29 percent brand value increase, the top four brands in BrandZ™ Global Top 100 are in the technology category – Google, Apple, IBM and Microsoft.
Around a fifth of the BrandZ™ Global Top 100 are technology brands and these 18 brands account for $827 billion in brand value, nearly a third of the Top 100 total value.
Google increased the most in dollar value, $45.2 billion, in the 2014 ranking. The brand also increased significantly since 2006, $121.4 billion, second only to the gain of $131.9 billion by Apple during the same period.
Brands based in Continental Europe increased 19 percent in brand value overall, more than any other region, following a rise of only 5 percent a year ago.
North America dominated in regional representation. Half the brands in the BrandZ™ Top 100 and two-thirds of the Top 100 total brand value originate in North America. All of the Top 10 brands are based in the US.
Slower economies in fast growing markets reduced the number of brands from those counties in the BrandZ™ Global Top 100, from 17 a year ago to 14, 11 from China, two from Russia and one from Africa.
Other brands from China and Russia, and also brands from Brazil, Colombia and Mexico appear in the category rankings, which include some high-value brands below the Top 100 brand value threshold.
Consumer and Retail Categories
Apparel led the categories in brand value appreciation. The brands with the greatest increases – Uniqlo, up 58 percent; Nike, 55 percent; and Adidas, 47 percent – illustrate one of the key category trends, the convergence of apparel and technology into wearables.
Carmakers had a good year with sales driven primarily by the resurgent US economy and UK demand. But car sales increased in China, too, despite slower economic growth and government purchasing restrictions aimed at reducing congestion and pollution.
Consumers felt entitled to buy luxury again. They were more discerning, even in China. And luxury brands strategically rebalanced back toward exclusivity, having increased accessibility in a tactical effort to build sales during the recession.
Personal Care +12%
More personalized products, men’s grooming and innovations combining cosmetics with pharmacology drove sales in a crowded category. The convergence of technology and personal care resulted in small appliances for skin cleaning. Sales in China remained an important factor.
Retailers confronted the mismatch between legacy real estate and changed consumer shopping habits. Conditioned by shopping both in physical stores and online, consumers expected everything – broad assortment, the lowest prices and immediate gratification. Brands sought ways to meet these expectations by transforming the category with seamless solutions.
Food and Drink Categories
Consolidation continued in a category where four global brewers predominate with large brand portfolios of hundreds of local and global beers. The brewers attempted to drive volume in fast growing markets and accommodate the desires of mature market consumers seeking new tastes and experiences.
Fast Food +10%
Chipotle and Starbucks led in brand value growth with increases of 48 percent and 44 percent, respectively. Both brands met the consumer desire for a fast food experience where the meal is tasty but healthier and offered in a more comfortable restaurant environment.
Soft Drinks +4%
Brand value appreciated in a category where volume of (CSDs) carbonated soft drinks declined for the ninth consecutive year in the US because of consumer health concerns. Brands continued to market ambitiously and introduce new products.
Global Banks +15%
Having paid off government loans and reorganized their businesses to be more efficient, the banks made money and brand values improved. The public remained skeptical, however, because of bank past misdeeds and high executive pay.
Regional Banks +6%
Strong local economies propelled banks in North America and Australia, where proximity to Asian markets also helped. But the declining band values of some Chinese banks were a drag on overall category brand value.
The major European insurance brands did well, with Allianz increasing 48 percent in brand value and AXA up 44 percent. US property and casualty insurers led the way in trying to analyze big data to enhance customer centricity and reach and retain new, young customers. Online insurers continued to disrupt the category.
Oil and Gas +3%
Investor pressure on return on investment and geopolitical events intensified the routine oil and gas brand challenges of exploring for resources in some of the earth’s most fragile environments. Oil and gas increased the least in brand value of all categories.
The consumer brands continued to expand their ecosystems in an attempt to be an invaluable part of consumer daily life. They found ways to monetize their customer relationships while also engaging in less profitable activities to serve humanity and claim a higher purpose. The business-to-business brands adjusted to a commercial model radically changed by Cloud computing.
In Europe, the category experienced more consolidation. And brands added content to their bundle of services, in an effort to differentiate. T-Mobile offered pay-as-you-go pricing in the US, disrupting a market organized around long-term contracts and bundled services.