Thirty years ago, we asked ourselves about the nuanced relationship between brand and business performance; ‘How much is a brand worth?’ and ‘How can we track and improve its performance over time?’ Aiming to answer questions of this kind, we built the world’s first accredited brand valuation methodology.
In the past 30 years, we have conducted thousands of brand valuation exercises, underpinned by our proprietary Brand Strength framework, to help businesses create roadmaps to stronger brands and customer experiences. In 2000 we published our first ranking of the most valuable brands in the world, and this year we are marking its 20th year.
Twenty years of brand valuation data has many stories to tell. Only 31 brands (e.g., Disney, Nike, and Gucci) from the 2000 ranking remain on the table today; 137 brands (Marlboro, Nokia, and MTV, to name a few) have come and gone in the intervening years. Coca-Cola and Microsoft are the only brands to have retained top ten spots. In 2001 (the first year in which the table included 100 brands), the cumulative brand value residing in the world’s top 100 brands was $988B. Today, that value stands at $2.1T— representing a 4.4% average CAGR and more than 2.1x increase in total value. These figures behind Best Global Brands tell a clear story: in such a fluid market landscape, investing in brand is key to long-term success.
Today, there is no question as to whether brands have intrinsic value or not. Millennials and Gen Z continue to push companies to redefine what effective brand-building means — and increasingly, what it means to be a truly valuable brand in their eyes. With ever-savvier consumer bases, brands are expected to act in line with their customers’ values. Consumers expect not just engaging experiences, but bold actions that transform traditional categories and help make the world a better place. While it’s an exciting time to be a brand leader, a far more dynamic landscape means brand-building is more difficult than ever.
What we are seeing in this evolving market landscape, where customers’ expectations are moving faster than a company’s ability to respond, is that incremental moves can only keep you in the game for the short term. The fastest growing brands are making what we call Iconic Moves — the big bets that transform the way customers interact with brands. When executed successfully, Iconic Moves reframe customer expectations and result in temporary market monopolies and noteworthy brand and business successes.
As brands have evolved to meet customer expectations, so have we. Our valuation methodology remains foundational, but our consultative approach has shifted from static frameworks to dynamic models. While successful brands possess a set of common attributes, brands’ positions are a moving target. We have therefore altered our way of working to see brands as they truly are — dynamic, flexible, multi-faceted assets. Using our proprietary Human Truths methodology (to understand customer trajectories), Brand Economics (to identify the business opportunity), and Brand Experience (to make real change within a business), brands can spark customer desire and drive extraordinary results. We call this approach Interbrand Thinking — an interdisciplinary approach that addresses business challenges through the lens
At this point of inflection, we look backward to look forward. Twenty years of data and insights have provided us with a lens with which we can help deliver Iconic Moves for brands across countries and continents. Today, in the 20th year of Best Global Brands, we’re excited to share our Iconic Moves thinking and invite you to join the discussion.