With Star Wars, Disney Is Strongest Brand

The fruits from Disney’s purchase of LucasFilm are paying off: The company that owns not only Star Wars, but ESPN, Pixar, the Muppets and Marvel is considered the world’s most powerful brand by Brand Finance.

With the latest Star Wars film breaking box office records, the business consultancy estimates that property’s value at $10 billion, more than twice the $4 billion the company paid for the property in 2012. Disney’s successful management of that property, appealing to both long-time fans and pulling in new ones, has boosted the company’s already considerable global brand strength.

“Disney benefits from the strength of the brands in its portfolio but is also an unrivaled steward of those brands, driving their value up and so benefitting itself in turn,” Robert Haigh, a representative for Brand Finance, tells Marketing Daily. “There’s also the strength of the Disney brand itself (as applied to resorts, original entertainment etc), which forms a third source of strength.”



“Brand Strength” is determined through a mixture of equity, investment and performance to determine a brand’s future. In addition, Brand Finance also evaluates “Brand Value,” which is essentially a value for the brand in not having to pay royalty fees. Along that metric, Apple is still the most valuable brand, up 14% from the previous year based on iPhone 6 and 6s sales. While sales may be considered sluggish by previous iPhone status, the company sold nearly 75 million handsets in a saturated market last quarter, and its Apple Pay feature is starting to gain traction, according to Brand Finance.

“The key to Apple’s success has been a combination of technological innovation and superb marketing,” Haigh says. “Without the foundation of exceptional products it wouldn’t be able to sustain its reputation and brand, however the opposite is true too - power of its brand has enabled it to sustain periods where it has been perceived to be slow to innovate.”

On the other end of the spectrum, Volkswagen is among the year’s worst-performing brands, thanks in large part to the scandal surrounding its diesel vehicle emissions. According to Brand Finance, VW’s brand value has fallen by at least $12 billion, and dropped in rank from 17th to 56th on its charts.

“Though the brand damage is severe, it is not irrecoverable and if it can portray a concerted effort to remedy its past failings we expect consumers to forgive,” Haigh says.

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