Innovative tech brands
drive region’s value rise
With a 23 percent increase, North America was second, after China, in regional brand value growth. All of the North American Top 10 brands are US, and eight of 10 are technology-related and illustrate how brand value growth can follow from being disruptive, innovative, and different.
Each of the business-to-consumer brands introduced new products or services to strengthen its ecosystem and the customer experience. Apple introduced its iPhone X, for example. Google advanced its artificial intelligence initiatives like Alexa, its personal assistant.
Facebook planned to revise its business model to encourage people to use Facebook more for relationship building. Amazon advanced is automatic replenishment system, acquired retail Whole Foods, and opened its first Amazon Go store, a grocery outlet that tracks purchases through shopper smartphones, eliminating the need for shelf pricing and checkout.
These brands were well positioned in a year when expectations for a business-friendly climate under the new US Administration helped fuel the economy and stock market. But they also faced increasing public scrutiny over the use of private customer data. Brand strength helped these companies sustain strong customer loyalty as they addressed these serious and long-term concerns
Among the business-to-business technology brands, Microsoft increased in value 40 percent, because of its transformation to an open platform, enabling it work in collaboration with other brands, and the development of its cloud storage business. IBM invested in its Watson-branded artificial intelligence initiatives, particularly in health care and finance, which grew slower than analyst expectations. Visa profits rose on increased consumer use of its credit card worldwide, and the addition of new partners, including Costco, the warehouse store retailer.
As consumers reconciled the concerns about health with their desire for burgers and other fast food, McDonald’s experienced strong sales, having improved its food ingredients and restaurant décor over the past several years, in an effort to revive the brand. Both AT&T and Verizon, America’s largest telecom providers, lost value because of strong price competition, but both brands focused on long-term plans to drive growth in a slow-growth category.