Though the ripple effect of the pandemic’s social, economic and personal impacts has been calamitous for businesses both small and large, some brands have demonstrated immunity in the face of the health crisis.
According to the 15th edition of the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands rankings report released today, investing in marketing, brand building and innovation have proven to be key drivers for revenue growth and recovery during Covid-19. Commissioned by WPP and conducted by brand equity research experts Kantar, the report indicates that the total worth of BrandZ’s top 100 increased by 5.9% in 2020, hitting $5 trillion and delivering $227 billion in additional brand value growth. Per the report, prior to the global pandemic, total brand value of the top 100 brands was set to increase by 9%.
“The continued growth in value of the BrandZ top 100 shows that strong brands are in a much better place than they were in the global economic crisis of 2008-9,” said David Roth, CEO of The Store WPP EMEA and Asia and chairman of BrandZ, in a statement. “We see a significant improvement in brand equity now compared to 10 years ago because businesses understand the importance of investing in brand building and are stronger and more resilient as a result.”
Multinational companies Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Google, Visa, Alibaba, Tencent, Facebook, McDonald’s and Mastercard are in the top 10 of the list. Amazon maintained its title as the world’s most valuable brand, growing by 32% and almost $100 billion this year compared to 2019. Amazon accounts for a third of the top 100’s total growth in 2020.
Apple also maintained its No. 2 spot, growing 14%, and Microsoft regained its position in third place, growing 30% compared to 2019. Per the report, Microsoft may have made the jump ahead of Google due to the growth of its cloud-enabled workplace ecosystem that has allowed people to conduct “business as usual” during lockdowns and quarantine periods. Mastercard entered the top 10 for the first time in 2020.
Brand rankings were established by combining analyzed market data from Bloomberg and consumer insights and by using valuations data incorporating stock price performance from April 2020 to reflect the impact of Covid-19. Technology brands represented about 37% of brand value in the top 100.
“Innovation has proven to be a key driver for growth in this year’s top 100 and a way to prevent decline,” said Doreen Wang, global head of BrandZ at Kantar, in a statement. “Creativity is also an important trait for the world’s most valuable brands. Companies like Amazon, Apple and Google—the tech giants that keep on innovating—successfully combine both to continue being relevant to consumers’ lives and making it easier for them to choose a brand.”
This creativity was evidenced in brands beyond the ranking’s top 10. For example, short user-generated video content social network and trendy newcomer TikTok was a new entry in the Brandz top 100 this year. Even valuable brands not in the tech sector, such as athleisure brand Lululemon, demonstrated agility to remain relevant and engaging for its consumers. Growing by 40%, Lululemon was one of the fastest risers in the list because it shifted its focus from exercise wear to work-appropriate (but yoga-inspired) clothing, as well as offering online yoga classes for people at home.