Tech, Content, and Creativity Drive BrandZ Top 100 Global Brands

The total brand value of the BrandZ Top 100 grew by a record 21% in the last year, adding almost US$750 billion to the ranking, now valued at US$4.4 trillion

Bingeing on Netflix boxsets, sharing stories on Facebook, and downloading content from Apple‘s iTunes have contributed to a record year of brand value growth in the 2018 BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands ranking released today by WPP and Kantar Millward Brown.

The increasing use of data-driven, intelligence-led technologies – such as artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) – alongside creative marketing approaches has allowed many brands to build a more in-depth understanding of their customers and deliver convenience, personalised content and exceptional brand experiences.

Eight out of the Top 10 are technology or tech-related brands. This category continues to dominate the rankings with Google and Apple retaining the number 1 and 2 spots, growing +23% to US$302.1 billion/£228.3 billion and +28% to US$300.6 billion/£227.1 billion respectively.

Amazon moved into the third position ahead of Microsoft, growing +49% to US$207.6 billion/£156.9 billion, whilst Tencent rose to fifth ahead of Facebook (sixth) growing +65% in brand value to US$179 billion/£135.3 billion, up three places from last year’s ranking.

“We have seen the biggest ever rise in brand value this year, driven by growth across all categories. Both new and established players have seen the payoff in being bold and adopting a long-term outlook towards brand-building.

“WPP’s own focus is on providing innovative approaches for our clients that combine data and technology with world-class creativity. Those companies that invest in intelligence-led marketing and back their brands with the power of creativity and ideas will be the winners in today’s world of innovation, disruption and change,” said David Roth, WPP.

Despite economic and political uncertainty in many regions of the world, this year’s ranking shows its largest-ever annual increase in value – almost US$750 billion/£566.7 billion (+21%). This gave the BrandZ Global Top 100 an overall total brand value of US$4.4 trillion/£3.32 trillion; up 204% over 12 years since it was first published in 2006. This is also the first year that all categories in the BrandZ Top 100 reported growth.

This was the first year non-US brands grew faster than US brands. Fourteen Chinese brands appear in the Top 100 ranking compared to just one (China Mobile) in 2006. The total value of China’s Top 10 grew year-on-year by +47%, more than double that of the US brands (+23%).

Other parts of the world, such as India and Indonesia, are also showing strong regional growth. The BrandZ Top 100 included seven Asian brands (excluding China), which grew +14% giving them a total brand value of US$146 billion/£110.3 billion.

Regional bank BCA (99th) became the first Indonesian brand to enter the ranking, and newcomer Maruti Suzuki entered the Top 10 Car category for the first time.

Trailblazing Chinese brands dominate the Fastest Risers this year, with JD.com (59th) leading the march following a staggering +94% rise in brand value bolstered by its entry into new categories such as finance.

Alibaba (ninth) was second, entering the Top 10 for the first time this year with +92% growth, as it expanded its global reach and the success of Singles Day. The third fastest riser was Moutai (34th) growing by +89%.

Doreen Wang, Kantar Millward Brown’s Global Head of BrandZ, commented: “Brands that are winning in the intelligence-led marketing era include businesses such as Amazon and Tencent who put the consumer at the heart of everything they do.

“These brands use technology to understand the needs of their consumers and apply these learnings to create an ecosystem of services that fulfil multiple needs, enabling a seamless consumer experience between platforms.”