While there are many brand evaluations, what sets this analysis apart, says Pierre Dupreelle, a director at Millward Brown, is that it calculates the dollar value of a single brand (so that Gap is valued as a separate entity from Old Navy, for example) by combining financial data with research on consumers and B2B users. It also includes a forecasting component, predicting the brand's current growth potential.
As a result, he says, this year's ranking favors any brand that offers consumers a good value, whether that means the gains of brands like H&M, top-ranked in apparel with a valuation of $12.06 billion -- a jump of 8% from last year -- or Wal-Mart, which saw its valuation increase 19% to $41.08 billion, dominating the retail brands. (Rival Tesco's brand value slipped 1% to $22.94 billion.)
But it is even true in the luxury category, where top-rated Louis Vuitton gained 5% to $19.4 billion, No. 2-ranked Hermes increased 13% to $7.86 billion, and No. 5-ranked Rolex jumped 35% to $5.53 billion. "We hear so much about the luxury brands suffering," he says, "but not for brands that are seen as an excellent value and an investment. When you get the price-value equation right, you can grow." Chanel slipped 3%, and Cartier fell 12%.
Other trends that influenced the rankings are also recession-inspired. For example, people are staying home more -- which Dupreelle says helped give Amazon an 85% increase to land at No. 3 on the retail list, and also pushed eBay up 16% into the 5th spot. It explains the first-time appearance of Nintendo, which landed on the overall list at No. 32.
Consumer love for wireless technology also had an impact on the rankings, pushing brands like Vodafone and China Mobile higher up on the list.
Overall, Google was assessed as the No. 1 brand worldwide, worth more than $100 billion. "It's amazing that a brand no one had heard of 10 years ago, and that does little advertising, is now the most valuable brand in the world," he says. Microsoft, Coca-Cola, IBM and McDonald's round out the top five.