Money really does talk. Despite an unprecedented economic decline over the past 12 months, the world’s most valuable brands have continued to rake in the cash, and they’re showing no signs of slowing down.
Market research and equity database Kantar BrandZ has revealed the 5 most valuable brands in the world for 2021 and its big tech has come out on top. While you’d expect to see high-fashion houses and luxury carmakers adorn the higher placings, this year strengthened the new age of technology, with global brands Amazon and Facebook coming out on top. So how much are the big wigs really worth?
The World at Large
When the world was plunged into lockdown in 2020, uncertainty reigned supreme. With physical retailers forced to shut up and consumer confidence on the decline, brands suffered a major hit to their bottom lines. Fast-forward 12 months and the economic recovery is in full force as the world transitions to relative normality. Naturally, some businesses have bounced back faster than others. In fact, while the ripple effects of COVID-19 are still being felt, some companies have managed to thrive amid the chaos.
For over a decade, Kantar Brandz has compiled the most valuable brand report using data collected from various sources, including public domain and valuation estimates, the organization outlines the key performance metrics that align with overall value. The equation is:
- A brand’s total financial value, which is the financial contribution that brand brings to its parent company ($ value).
- Multiplied by its proportional value, measured by the brand’s proportional impact on its parent company’s sales (% value).
From there, Kantar BrandZ combines these financial results with quantitative survey data, sourced from over 170,000 global consumers. The end result is a holistic look at a company’s brand equity, reputation, and ability to generate value. Importantly, brand value is not an indication of market value, which for a number of major companies, is closely linked to share price. For example, Apple has a market value of USD$2.4 trillion, while its brand value equates to USD$612 billion, based on the Kantar BrandZ methodology.
How Companies Grow in 2021
While 2021 marked a welcomed return to regular spending for many of the world’s largest regions, some companies fared better than others. Diving into the report, with the help of Visual Capitalist, some key aspects can be identified as major contributors to brand value growth.
- Giants become titans – In 2021, we saw the big get bigger. As growth rate is closely correlated with high brand equity, a strong brand will likely see more growth than a weaker brand. This would explain why brands such as Apple continue to hold strong at the top of the list.
- Marketing push – In 2021, companies that have pulled at the heartstrings have seen the greatest brand value growth. For example, Nike’s video “For Once, Just Don’t Do It” urged consumers to stand up for equality, result in a huge boost in consumer perception.
- Investment – While marketing will bring new customers to the fold, investment is where the key value is built. Brands that look to the future and invest in technology have seen the strongest returns in 2021.
Most Valuable Brands 2021
After an incredible second-half to 2020, consumer goods retailer Amazon capitalized on its profits by branching out into other avenues. In 2021 alone, Amazon has seen its value grow by 64%, thanks to increased awareness and adoption of its web and subscription services. This marks the third successive year that the e-commerce titan has topped the list of the world’s most valuable brands.
Brand value: USD$683.86 billion
Category: Consumer Goods & Retail
Change: 64% increase
The world’s biggest brand by market value, Apple slipped into second place on the brand value scale, falling just short of Amazon with a brand value figure of USD$612 billion. Importantly, the technology company wasn’t completely immune to the pandemic, suffering a 19% dip in stock price earlier this year. A record-breaking revenue result in Q4, however, generated a whopping USD$64.7 billion for Apple, more than enough to propel the brand into second place.
Brand value: USD$612 billion
Change: 74% increase
Continuing the theme of big tech frontrunners, Google also had a solid year in the brand value stakes. Noting a 42% increase from this time last year, the world’s most used search engine delivered a strong performance that aligned with an increase in at-home work and development.
Brand value: USD$458 billion
Category: Media & Entertainment
Change: 42% increase
In 2021, Microsoft’s global brand value exceeded USD$400 billion for the first time. The company managed to grow this figure by around 42% on the previous year, thanks to a steady corporate culture that eased market concerns during an uncertain period.
Brand value: USD$410.27 billion
Category: Business Solutions & Tech Providers
Change: 26% increase
Shenzhen-based Tencent earned a top-five spot on the Kantar BrandZ Most Valuable Global Brands 2021, marking the second time the brand has made the list in three years. According to Kantar BrandZ, the technology company’s brand value increased by 60 percent year on year, outpacing the average growth of 42 percent of the top 100 global brands.
“The three cores of Tencent are technology, culture, and responsibility. We will adapt our products and services to create new social values and make technological breakthroughs,” Tencent vice president Cheng Wu said.
Brand value: USD$240.93 billion
Category: Media & Entertainment
Change: 60% increase