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Brand value rises steadily despite a disruptive decade

Report examines future value growth in a new normal 

It’s 10 years since WPP launched the BrandZTM Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands, with the brand valuation methodology of Millward Brown. During the intervening decade, 2006 to 2015, Brand Value increased 126 percent to $3.3 trillion. This year alone value rose 14 percent.

In this expanded 10th Anniversary edition of the BrandZTM Global Top 100 we share the important trends that drove Brand Value over the past 10 years. And we recommend the strategies and actions to build and sustain Brand Value going forward.

This is a pivotal moment for brand builders. We’re at the threshold of a new normal. The inflection came with the global financial crisis that divided the past decade evenly into two halves. None of the 13 categories examined in this report were spared from the effects of the recession itself or the aftermath of more cautious consumer spending.

At the same time, shaped by the attitudes of the millennial generation, consumer’s values evolved. Consumers now view high quality products that offer good value for money as a basic entitlement. They scrutinize brands and favor those that protect the health of their customers and the planet. All these changes happened in the context of the other ubiquitous disruptor – technology.

Technology transformed every brand in every category over the past decade – sometimes radically. Look at the technology category itself; ten years ago, a cloud was a white cotton puff in the sky. Today, technology B2B brands are transitioning from on-site presence to cloud computing. Or consider retail; ten years ago, Walmart was the brand value category leader. Today Alibaba and Amazon are the most valuable retail brands on the planet, and they operate no physical stores.

Key 10-year findings
   In this 10th Anniversary edition of the BrandZTM Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands we examine all these developments and suggest what the impact on brands is likely to be in the future – category-by- category. The pages are filled with profitable reading for anyone interested in brands and brand building. It’s difficult to pre?cis so much knowledge, but here are three important findings based on our analysis of 10 years of BrandZTM valuation data.
  • Brand: The highest Brand Values are attained when a clear and compelling brand proposition forms the basis of a Big Idea creative solution.
  • Difference: The data shows that being different in a meaningful way accelerates Brand Value growth.
  • Trust: High trust correlates with high Brand Value, and most pertinently, because of the erosion of consumer trust in some categories, trust can be repaired.

Trust is not enough, however. In today’s socially networked world, trust (the reservoir of faith based on past performance) must be paired with recommendation (the promise delivered today).

We also believe in the power of purpose to drive brand value. Consumers respond positively to brands that communicate a purpose beyond making money. Brand purpose essentially means improving the life of the consumer in some way. Ideally, a brand’s purpose also improves the world.

Finally, it’s critical to recognize that the competitive landscape is about to change. Ten years ago only one Chinese brand ranked on the BrandZTM Global Top 100. Today, the 14 ranked Chinese brands total $432.4 billion in Brand Value, a 1,004 percent increase. So far these brands have built value mostly in China. But they’ll be going global in the coming decade.

Building valuable brands

Brand experts from over 30 WPP companies contributed to this report with insights and thought leadership essays that provide deeper strategic understanding and tactical advice for implementation. They participated in over 25 focus groups that delved into the dynamics shaping the 14 product and service categories covered in this report.

Our experts are specialists in advertising; insight; branding and identity; direct, digital, promotion and relationship marketing; media investment management and data investment management; and public relations and public affairs. We are especially focused on new global markets and new media, the application of Big Data and

the coordination all our resources for the benefit of our clients, something we call “horizontality.” Collectively we bring global knowledge based on our WPP presence in 111 countries.

By linking all this talent, creativity, and wisdom we amplify global trends and insights that help our clients in useful and unique ways. We invite you to access our unrivaled BrandZTM resource library. Its titles include: the BrandZTM Top 100 Most Valuable Chinese Brands 2015; the BrandZTM Top 50 Most Valuable Latin American Brands 2015; and the BrandZTM Top 50 Most Valuable Indian Brands 2014. To download these and other BrandZTM reports, please visit downloads tab. For the interactive BrandZ mobile apps go to www.brandz.com/mobile.

The backbone of all this intelligence remains the WPP proprietary BrandZTM database, the world’s largest, customer-focused source of brand equity knowledge and insight, and the BrandZTM brand valuation methodology of Millward Brown, a WPP company. Our BrandZTM database now has more than 3.2 billion individual data points. It’s a manifestation of Big Data and, yes, it is in the cloud!

It’s our consumer focus that makes all this data not just big, but powerful. First we analyze relevant corporate financial data and strip away everything that doesn’t pertain to the branded business. Then we take a critical step that makes BrandZTM unique and definitive among brand valuation methodologies. We conduct ongoing, in- depth quantitative consumer research with more than 170,000 consumers annually, across more than 30 countries, to assess consumer attitudes about, and relationships with, over 10,000 brands.

At WPP, we’re passionate about using our creativity to establish and build strong, differentiated brands that deliver lasting shareholder value. To learn more about how to apply our experience and expertise to benefit your brand, please contact any of the WPP companies that contributed expertise to this report. Turn to the resource section at the end of this report for summaries of each company and the contact details of key executives, or feel free to contact me directly.


David Roth

WPP David.Roth@wpp.com