Nintendo overtakes Sony to claim fastest growing Asian brand title, says Interbrand

Nintendo is the fastest growing Asian brand, according to Interbrand's recent 100 Best Global Brands 2019 ranking. Its brand value jumped by 18% to US$5,550 million from US$4,696 million last year. It held the 99th spot in 2018, and climbed 10 spots to clinch 89th this year. This comes as the company quarterly sales for Nintendo grew by 2.4% to about US$1.59 billion in June this year, with 76.5% generated outside of Japan. Meanwhile, the company has also sold over 15 million units of Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite systems in North America since its launch in March 2017.

Sony was next in line as the second fastest growing Asian brand, growing at 13% in brand value to US$10,514 million from US$9,316 million in 2018. It held 59th spot last year and climbed to 56th spot in 2019. Its video game and digital entertainment segment, Sony Interactive Entertainment, recently slashed the price of its cloud gaming service PlayStation Now to one up competitors and bolstered its game catalogue with marquee content.

Overall, Mastercard was the fastest rising brand in 2019 globally, its brand value jumping 25% to US$9,430 million. In 2018 it held 70th position and this year it climbed 62 this year.  According to Interbrand, its ascent has been fuelled in part by its transition from finance provider to technology firm. Interbrand added that Mastercard's ascent also reflects a wider trend in the arena of finance, which is that the real gains are being made by businesses that harness the disruptive forces of technology. In January this year, Mastercard dropped its name from its brand logo, using a simplified logo that works "seamlessly" across the digital landscape. It also debuted a sonic brand identity in February which forms the foundation of its sound architecture.

Also being ranked as the fastest growing by  Interbrand were Toyota (+5%), Hyundai (+5%), and Samsung (+2%).

Dip in brand value

Meanwhile globally, General Electric's brand value dipped the most by 22% to US$25,566 million. When it came to Asian brands, Huawei's brand value dipped by 9% to US$6,887 million, the most among the 10 ranked by Interbrand. This year has been a tumultuous one for the Chinese smartphone manufacturer, the US government banned Huawei and its 70 affiliates from acquiring US components and technology without government approval. Despite this, Huaiwe reported 24.4% revenue increase of about US$86.3 billion during the third quarter of 2019. Other companies that also saw a dip in brand value, according to Interbrand, were KIA (-7%), Nissan (-6%), and Panasonic (-2%).

Top brands globally

For the third consecutive year, Apple (+9%), Google (+8%), Amazon (+24%), Microsoft (+17%), and Coca Cola (-4%) made up Interbrand's top five ranking. On the other hand, Facebook dropped out of the top 10 ranking, sliding five spots to 14th this year as compared to 2018.

Here's a look at the top 100 brands for 2019:

[gallery link="file" ids="276164,276165,276166,276163"]

According to Interbrand, the aggregate value of the 100 most valuable global brands has doubled, reaching beyond US$2.1 trillion. Interbrand said that in the future, it will be less about helping define what a business stands for, and more about determining where it should go next, and making those bold moves to get there quickly.

"The organisations that will thrive will be the ones on a journey together with customers and talent alike, leading the empathy and courage to define the human truths worth serving, and economics through which to serve them," it said.

According to Interbrand, there are four major forces at play behind why people are moving faster than businsses - abundance of choice, erosion of loyalty, speed of adoption, and shifting frames of reference. When it comes to abundance of choice, the range of options in both B2B and B2C environments is constantly widening. As much as consumers may trust or even love a brand, Interbrand said that exploring and trying new options has never been cheaper, quicker, and often engaging.

Abundance is not the only factor that makes it harder for brands to be chosen, it also erodes loyalty and changes its dynamics, Interbrand said. Once the result of meeting expectations, today loyalty is the consequence of being able to constantly shift them. "The clash of the titans in the online entertainment space is a powerful example of how loyalty is built through the constant promise and delivery of new and next," Interbrand said.

Meanwhile, Interbrand also noted an exponential increase in the speed of adoption when it comes to innovation. Ecosystems propagate new products, services, and technologies to millions of customers at speeds never seen before. The likes of Apple and Google have made the mass adoption of technologies such as artificial intelligence or facial recognition virtually effortless and immediate.

Finally, consumers’ frames of reference are shifting—whereby the expectation of Uber’s immediacy, Spotify’s abundance, and Netflix’s intimacy ripples across every aspect of life and line of business, raising the threshold of what’s good enough. Apple’s launch of a credit card in conjunction with Goldman Sachs is a bet on importing in financial services levels of desirability and utility that are now the standard in other categories.

To get a sense what the next big thing is going to be, don’t turn your gaze toward, brands should focus on people's discussions, searches, habits, and demands, instead of R&D labs.  "When these four forces combine with hypercompetitive markets driven by the increased availability of capital and competencies, the result is an entirely new environment—one in which people’s expectations are moving faster than the fastest businesses," Interbrand added.

Interbrand took into account three key components for its valuations - an analysis of the financial performance of the branded products or services, the role the brand plays in purchase decisions, and the brand’s competitive strength.

(Photo courtesy: 123RF)