Interbrand Releases 2016 Best Japan Brands Report

February 17, 2016



On February 17, 2016, Interbrand released its 2016 Japan’s Best Global Brands report in Tokyo.

—Toyota claims the #1 position for the eighth consecutive year.
—Subaru (#12) and Mazda (#13) dramatically increase their respective brand values once again.
—Eleven automotive brands appear in the ranking of Japan’s Top 40 global brands.
—MUFG enters the ranking of Japan’s Top 40 global brands in the #6 position.
—DENSO (#25), Isuzu (#31), Kubota (#34), and Makita (#37) enter the global brand ranking.

TOKYO, Japan (February 17, 2016) – Interbrand, the world’s leading brand consultancy, has released its Best Japan Brands 2016 report. The report, produced by Interbrand’s team in Japan, includes two rankings: One identifies the Top 40 Japan’s Best Global Brands (the brands of Japanese companies that conduct business globally in monetary terms), while the other identifies the Top 40 Japan’s Best Domestic Brands.

For the eighth consecutive year, Toyota claimed the #1 position on the ranking of the Top 40 Japan’s Best Global Brands. Interbrand attributes the strength of the Toyota brand to its evolution as a trusted, high-quality automotive brand to one synonymous with innovation, leading the future of mobility through product development, sustainability, and a focus on people. As the largest automobile company in the world, Toyota’s pioneering initiatives will have a significant impact on the ways in which drivers experience their vehicles and mobility in general.

“We are delighted to honor the top global and the top domestic brands in Japan with the release of our annual Best Japan Brands report,” noted Interbrand Japan’s CEO, Yuki Wada. “The Top 40 global brands and the Top 40 domestic brands identified within our report are all facing a variety of challenges in terms of their abilities and successes in driving choice and loyalty for their products and services. The relationship between business and brands has never been more important in driving growth.”

Stuart Green, Interbrand Asia Pacific CEO added – “It’s no coincidence that the fastest growing brands in the world, and indeed Japan – are also the fastest growing companies. Brands are ‘business strategy brought to life’ – the strategic bridge between business and people. You can’t create great products, environments, cultures or communications without a well-defined brand that drives every experience.”

Overview of the Top 40 Japan’s Best Global Brands

This year, the Top 40 global Japanese brands having realized a total monetary brand value of USD $158,968 million. Outlined below are some key findings:

Automotive brands continue to boost value again, leading the global market

Subaru (#12, +39%) continued to show strong growth in the North American market by building value around its slogan “Enjoyment and Peace of Mind.” Mazda (#13, +36%), continued to pursue “Celebrate Driving” on all fronts, thanks to a strong commitment to branding by senior management. In terms of brand value, these were two of the three fastest-growing brands this year.

Eleven automotive brands appeared in the ranking of the Top 40 global Japanese brands, with Toyota (+16%) claiming the #1 position for the eighth consecutive year, followed by Honda (#2, +6%), Nissan (#4, +19%), Lexus (#9, +1%), Bridgestone (#11, +16%), Suzuki (#14, +19%), DENSO (#25), Isuzu (#31), and Mitsubishi Motors (#35).

Electronics and technology brands continue the significant challenge of adapting to changes within their industries

In contrast to automotive brands, Japan’s electronic and technology brands are still in the process of adapting to new and significant changes in their industries. Nikon (#21, -30%), for example, looked to drive further growth by grasping at new territories with its advanced imaging technologies, alongside the release of innovative new products and services. Further results showed brand value plunging for brands such as Nintendo (#10, -27%), which also fell off Interbrand’s 2015 Best Global Brands ranking in October.

Maintaining and growing brand value in the electronics and technology sector requires companies to be at the very forefront of changes in consumer behavior and innovation surrounding their products and services.

Some brands expanding overseas accelerate growth by rolling out its Japanese values in a distinct and unique way

We see some brands that are growing on a global scale are doing so by continually refining their strengths and management practices of Japanese values, as they venture into new markets. Examples include UNIQLO (#8, +13%), Unicharm (#19, +19%) and Yakult (#16, +19%). Japanese brands that present themselves in a distinct and unique way fare much better when going head-to-head with global competition.

Top 5 risers (year-on-year percentage increase in brand value):
Subaru (+39%)
Mazda (+36%)
Yakult (+19%)
Unicharm (+19%)
Nissan (+19%)

New entrants:
MUFG (#6)
DENSO (#25)
Isuzu (#31)
Olympus (#32)
Kikkoman (#33)
Kubota (#34)
Mitsubishi Motors (#35)
Makita (#37)
Ajinomoto (#38)
Fujifilm (#39)
Casio (#40)


Overview of the Top 40 Japan’s Best Domestic Brands

Brands increased their value through brand-based management

Suntory (#8, +13%) has steadily increased its brand value in the domestic market by increasing relevance to both connected as well as more socially conscious consumers, in particular through its sustainability initiatives. Calbee (#22, +24%) has realized growth through innovation and direct contact points with customers such as Calbee Plus. NEC (#21, +18%) is strengthening its company-wide brand management.

MUJI led increases in brand value for the fourth consecutive year through a distinctly Japanese persona

MUJI (#17, +25%) continued to increase its brand value by combining a universal perspective with an accessible Japanese style. Rakuten (#7, +19%) has become a ubiquitous presence in Japan.

Japan Airlines (#16, NEW) entered the domestic ranking for the first time thanks to high praise and thus strong performance for its Japanese-style services.

Reorganization of brand value from a global perspective

Japan is witnessing a decreasing birthrate and an aging population. As a result, various industries (construction, real estate, retail trade businesses, and even service industries), are facing growth challenges as they traditionally depend heavily upon the domestic market. In order to increase their brand values, companies within these sectors will need to embrace a new perspective beyond Japanese shores.

Top 5 risers (year-on-year percentage increase in brand value):
MUJI (+25%)
Calbee (+24%)
Rakuten (+19%)
NEC (+18%)
Mitsubishi Estate (+15%)

New entrants:
Japan Airlines (#16)
KOSÉ (#27)
ORIX (#29)
ABC-MART (#32)
Resona (#34)
Sumitomo Mitsui Trust (#35)
Sumitomo Realty & Development (#36)
Daiwa Securities (#37)
Matsumotokiyoshi (#38)
Cookpad (#39)
Nomura Real Estate (#40)


Study criteria and methodology

In order to shed light on the value of global Japanese brands and enable comparison of their relative position against a common global measure, brands meeting the following criteria were selected for evaluation:

—The corporate or business brand is the product of a Japanese enterprise
—The corporation was publicly listed as of 31 October 2015 and analyst reports are available
—Overseas sales (sales outside Japan) account for at least 30% of the brand’s total sales, based on FY 2014 results: Brands for which overseas sales account for less than 30% of total sales are covered in the ranking of the Top 40 domestic Japanese brands

*Note: For brands that also appeared in the Best Global Brand 2015 tables, FY 2015 brand values are used.

Interbrand’s methodology for evaluating brand value is based on the brand’s financial strength, influence on purchasing decisions, and contribution to future earnings. In the same way that securities analysts analyze and evaluate the value of a company, we analyze and evaluate the value of a brand by asking, “What is its future earning potential?” This methodology has been certified compliant with ISO 10668, the global standard for measuring the monetary value of brands as established by the International Organization for Standardization. The evaluation is made up of the following three specific analyses:

Financial Performance: Project the company’s future earnings
First, we estimate the current and future revenues of the business operating under the brand. We then subtract operating expenses, taxes, and capital cost of investment to calculate future economic profit. Our analysis is based on published corporate data; future projections are based on analyst performance forecasts.

*Note: For analyst forecasts this evaluation relies on the IFIS Consensus, an average of major analysts’ estimates published by IFIS Japan, Ltd. The IFIS Consensus data used is current as of December 10, 2015.

Role of Brand: Derive the brand’s contribution to profits
Next, in order to derive the brand’s contribution to future economic profits as calculated in the analysis of financial performance, we analyze the brand’s influence on customer purchasing decisions. In evaluating the role that a brand plays in consumer purchasing trends, we perform benchmark analyses by industry that draw on our database of brand value evaluations accumulated over the past 25 years. Based on these industry benchmarks, we perform a proprietary analysis to derive a brand contribution score.

Brand Strength: Evaluate the brand’s contribution to future earnings
Brand strength analysis measures a brand’s power to inspire what the client needs to sustain future earnings—market loyalty, repeat purchases by consumers, and lock in—and discounts brand earnings to derive a present value. Our evaluation offers a systematic means of determining a brand’s risk based on the 10 factors below that we believe are key. These include not only external factors such as market position, consumer recognition and favorability, and brand image but also internal factors such as support for the brand among management and employees and the company’s brand protection system.

This results in a score on a 100-point scale that is converted into a discount rate that can be applied to future brand profits to derive brand value.

Interbrand Japan was established in 1983—historically the third office in Interbrand’s global network, following London and New York. Interbrand Japan provides a full suite of services through strategy, creativity and technology to build brand and business value for various Japanese organizations and associations.

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About Interbrand
At Interbrand, we believe that growth is achieved when an organization has a clear strategy and delivers exceptional customer experiences. We do both, through a combination of strategy, creativity, and technology that helps drive growth for our clients’ brands and businesses. With a network of 21 offices in 17 countries, Interbrand is a global brand consultancy, and publisher of the highly influential annual Best Global Brands and Breakthrough Brands reports, and Webby Award-winning brandchannel. Interbrand is part of the Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE:OMC) network of agencies. For more information, please contact us, or follow Interbrand on LinkedInTwitter and Facebook.

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