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Lessons from leading global brands

by Peter Walshe

by Peter Walshe, BrandZ™ Global Strategy Director, Kantar Millward Brown


Compelling evidence for the impact of healthy “vital signs” on the value of a brand comes from an examination of leading global brands over more than a decade.


When we compare the scores of 86 brands from the BrandZ™ Top 100 for which we have values from both 2006 and 2017, we see clearly that when brands have high scores on some or all of the vital signs, that has a direct correlation with sales and the dollar value of a brand.


The five vital signs of a healthy brand are: purpose, innovation, communications, experience, and love. Brands that score highly on all five aspects are the most successful. They are “healthy” brands.  Those that are low on all five aspects are “frail” and the least successful. Brands with a mix of high and low scores are “OK”.


As might be expected for the most valuable brands in the world, there are many more in good shape:







The healthiest brands of all tend to put in a strong performance across all five of the vital signs, and this makes them meaningfully different to the competition – a key attribute in building brand value.

Even among the Top 100 Global Brands, all of which are extremely strong and valuable brands, there is a clear difference in performance over time between those brands that invest in improving their vital signs, and those that let one of several of them slip.



A picture of health

To understand what a truly healthy brand looks like, it helps to look at some of the healthiest global brands and what they are doing to stay in such great shape.

Some of these brands excel at having a very clear – and clearly articulated – brand purpose. That is, they improve people’s lives, and let everyone know how they do it. High-purpose brands include Pampers, IKEA and PayPal. These all make it very clear how they make people’s lives better; they all give the impression of putting their customers’ interests first, and are perceived as innovators.

Innovation is another of the vital signs, and those that stand out as great innovators can create that impression in a number of ways. Tesla, for instance, is at the forefront of “shaking things up”, while Google very much “leads the way”, and Netflix is seen as being particularly “creative”.

Winners on the communications front are a combination of big spenders as well as those that promote a cohesive and consistent story in an engaging way: Coca-Cola, Nike and Samsung.

Translating perceptions into a tangible and great brand experience is successfully achieved by the digital platform Alibaba, with its myriad helpful services. The joy of Disney and the reliability of FedEx also add up to excellent experience perceptions.


Love sustains success for Adidas, Colgate generates great affinity due to its excellent products, and YouTube is simply felt to be a joy to use.


Vital Signs Equate to Value

The Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands have an average higher Vital Signs Score, and the Top 10 even more so.  And this equates to increased value:

The total increase in the value of the Top 100 Global Brands since 2006 has been $2.2 trillion. And the Top 10 brands have accounted for nearly half of this. Vital signs cannot be ignored.