BrandZ 2012 Top Global Brands: Highlights

Tech and telecoms brands again lead this year’s BrandZ rankings of the most valuable global brands.

The BrandZ rankings, commissioned by WPP and conducted by Millward Brown Optimor, show Apple leading the top 100 list (with $182.9 billion in global brand value) for the second consecutive year, followed by IBM ($115.9 billion), Google ($107.8 billion), McDonald’s ($95.2 billion), Microsoft ($76.7 billion), Coca-Cola ($74.3 billion), Marlboro ($73.6 billion), AT&T ($68.9 billion), Verizon ($49.1 billion, jumping up four places versus 2011) and China Mobile ($47 billion).

IBM’s 15% value growth enabled it to surpass Google for the #2 spot this year. Facebook, with a 74% jump in brand value this year alone, showed the fastest rise in the value rankings (it’s now at #19, with a $33.2 billion value, versus #35 last year).

Highlights of those in the top 100 in some of the categories:

*Apparel:  Nike (#44), H&M (#58), Zara (#66)

*Cars:  BMW (#23), Toyota (#28), Mercedes-Benz (#46), Honda (#65), Nissan (#81), Volkswagen (#96)

*Consumbles and personal care:  In addition to Coke, these include Gillette (#33), Pampers (baby care, #35), Budweiser (#48), Colgate (#51), L'Oreal (#57), Pepsi (#67) and Red Bull (#80) 

*Fast food:  In addition to McDonald’s, Starbucks (#42), Subway (#52), KFC (#91)

*Financial:  ICBC (#13), Wells Fargo (#14), Visa (#15), China Construction Bank (#24), MasterCard (#29), American Express (#30), HSBC (#31), Agricultural Bank of China (#38), RBC (#40), TD (#54), Commonwealth Bank (#60), Bank of China (#61), ICICI Bank (#63), US Bank (#72), Standard Chartered (#79), Citibank (#82), Scotiabank (#82), Chase (#92), Santander (#95)

*Retail: Walmart (#17)  – which knocked Amazon (#18) into the second retail spot -- Tesco (#36), Home Depot (#62), Target (#76), ALDI (#87), IKEA (#89), Carrefour (#98)

The analysts highlighted the following trends:

* Technology prevails: Seven of the top 10 brands are technology or telecoms brands. However, the power of smart, simple-to-use technology to improve products can also be seen in other categories, including cars, financial services, luxury and retail. Successful brands also are using smart technology to enhance customer experience. For example, Burberry (up 21%, to $4 billion) created a virtual world to enable younger brand followers to view fashion shows.

* A mobile future: As one of the few items consumers don't want to give up or cut back on, mobile has been somewhat shielded during the recession. The U.S.’s largest mobile service provider, Verizon, increased its brand value by 15% in the last year.

*The rise of Africa: This year's ranking marks the arrival of the first African brand in the top 100: South African mobile company MTN (#88, at $9.2 billion). In addition, African consumers are driving growth for brands around the world, including Guinness (40% of its sales come from Africa), Airtel (with a 16% jump in revenue from the continent in Q3), and Orange, which had rapid growth in Africa in 2011. Wal-Mart’s investment in Africa’s Massmart is no coincidence.

*Retail becomes omni-channel: Retailers are focused both on the customer experience and the need to be present everywhere on the path to purchase.

*Women in the boardroom contribute major value: 77% of the brands appearing in the top 100 have women in the boardroom. The average value of brands with women on their boards is $27 billion -- double that of companies without female directors. Brands with female board members also show average five-year growth of 66%, compared to average growth of only 6% for other top-100 companies.

*Strong brands provide better shareholder value: Average ROI for all companies in the S&P 500 was just 2.3% over the past seven years. In contrast, the BrandZ top 100 yielded a 36.3% ROI.

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