WPP and Kantar Millward Brown have unveiled their 2018 BrandZ report, which ranks brands based on their "brand value", and measures brand equity based on interviews with more than 3 million consumers about thousands of brands, with analysis of each company’s business and financial performance, using data from both Bloomberg and Kantar Worldpanel.
First off, brands as a whole rose 21% in value to $4.4 trillion, adding $748 billion, the largest one-year value increase in the 12 years of publishing the global report - not least because of big gains by Chinese retail giants JD.com (94%) and Alibaba (92%) in terms of value. And that's a bit of a trend in this year's report - China.
While the top four is still dominated by Google, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft, Facebook has dropped quite a few places - and is now overtaken by Tencent. Alibaba also makes its entry to the top 10 for the first time.
While all brands in the top 10 reported value growth, aside from American telcom AT&T, Alibaba was by far by the biggest - almost double its value in 2017. Google and Apple saw a moderate increase of 28% and 23%, respectively, while Amazon and Microsoft traded places on the ranking, due to 49% and 40% growth. You can see the full list here.
Hong Kong's AIA climbed 11 spots to come in at #86, while China supplied some 15 brands to the list - including newcomers SF Express and JD.com.
"A rising tide floats all ships, but a growing economy does not float all brands, at least not equally. Strong brands do better—usually much better," David Roth said.
"And the gap is getting even wider. Brands that are different and innovative—themselves disruptive— grow value faster than even the strongest brands. Over the past 12 years, our BrandZ™ Strong and Innovative Brands Portfolio increased 226.7 percent in value, more than twice the rate of the S&P 500. Here’s the key insight: Brands that depend on the economic tide alone may be caught in the turbulence. Growth—even survival—depends on being innovative and different—and communicating those advantages in innovative and different ways," he added.