Apple, Google top Interbrand’s 2017 Best Global Brands Report; Netflix enters the list

MUMBAI: Interbrand has named Apple, Google and Microsoft as the three most valuable brands in its 2017 Best Global Brands ranking, with technology as the dominant sector. Now in its 18th year, this report’s theme is ‘Growth in a Changing World’, and examines three key components: People, Technology and Brands.

The list this year features three new entrants: Ferrari at 88, and Internet TV network Netflix and, who make their first appearance on the list, at 78 and 84. Online social network Facebook for the first time has entered the top 10.

Technology is a growth sector: Half of the ten brands at the top of the Best Global Brands 2017 list are in the technology sector—Apple, Google, Microsoft, Samsung, and Facebook. Each one of these brands either moved up on the list or stayed in the same place, which is a testament to their continued momentum. Yet all of these businesses do much more than just create cool new technology. They have mastered creating experiences through technology that reinforce the value of the brand itself. For all ten brands, nothing is invented for the sake of it. New innovations merge seamlessly into an ecosystem of other experiences, totally oriented around the brands themselves.

Radical flexibility: Despite strong legacies and investments in products and business practices that are renowned the world over, the Best Global Brands are ready to pivot at any moment to pursue growth. Nothing is so essential that it can’t be reinvented. What was foundational one day can become outdated the next morning, but those at the top of the list have brands strong enough to maintain their relationships despite fundamental change. Radical flexibility means that tech giants can become grocery stores, food and beverage providers can become lifestyle brands, car companies can launch vehicles into orbit, and phone manufacturers can pioneer AI. When change is the new normal, anything is possible the report noted.

In terms of what makes the fastest growing brands special the report noted:

Age and offering is irrelevant: While technology is helping create new brands at lightning speed, growth is not reserved for the up-and-coming. The youngest Top Growing Brand, with the highest growth for the second year running, is Facebook at 13 years, growing 48 per cent to break into the Top 10 for the first time. But across all 16 brands with double-digit percent growth, ages range—the most established at 180 years young. It proves that understanding and embracing the “Grow, Change, Grow” cycle can create sustained brand and business growth.

And while technology and financial services are the most represented sectors, the brands growing in double-digit percentages also come from retail, sporting goods, restaurants, logistics, apparel, luxury and automotive.

When it comes to shared characteristics, it’s certainly no coincidence that the Top Growing Brands this year master growth in a changing world. Like most of the Best Global Brands, the top performers understand the value of their brands and cultivate them with great care. But they also exhibit some key characteristics:

Customer and people obsession: Regardless of whether it’s stated blatantly by each, Top Growing Brands understand intrinsically that brands start and end with people. When it comes to innovation and development, it’s all deeply customercentric, using data and measurement effectively to ensure strong engagement and impact growth. Everything they do is deliberately built around customers’ needs and desires, and delivered through unique experiences. They also invest in their people internally—many of the Top Growing Brands have been recognised for their culture, workplaces, initiatives, causes and dedication to their employees.

These brands understand the power of people, and that great brands are built from within.

Clarity and focus: Having a clear strategic mission and a meaningful purpose is a vital characteristic.

Most Top Growing Brands showed particular focus in this area, clearly articulating their ambitions, infusing these into behaviors and experiences, and reinforcing them at every opportunity to all stakeholders—customers, employees, and shareholders alike—holding each up to its delivery. These brands understand the power of an often simply stated proposition:

It is the basis for any serious roadmap to growth, guiding every initiative and innovation. Whether they are taglinelike expressions that can be repeated with ease, or declarations and manifestos that demand action, there is no question of the brand’s highest-order aim.

“We are living in one of the most exciting periods of change­­—societal, technological, industrial—that impacts every aspect of commerce and life. In this ever-shifting context, growth becomes more challenging, which is why businesses need brands more than ever. The Best Global Brands understand that brands are the platform for growth” said Interbrand global CEO Jez Frampton.

For five consecutive years, Apple and Google hold the top positions. Apple’s brand value grew by 3% to $184,154 million, as Google’s brand value by 6% to $141,703 million. Microsoft jumps into third spot, as one of sixteen brands with double-digit per cent growth. Following Coca-Cola at number four, sit Amazon, Samsung, Toyota, and Facebook, which breaks into the Top 10 for the first-time at number eight. Mercedes-Benz, and IBM round out the Top 10.

The report noted that Facebook announced, during its F8 2017 conference, three strategic pillars for the future of the brand: connectivity, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality, each contributing to Facebook’s mission to cultivate communities and bring the world closer together. Meanwhile, Amazon is prioritizing for 2017 three growth areas: Amazon Prime, which continues to attract millions of members; brick-and-mortar stores; and ongoing logistics innovation to improve service—all with true customer obsession.

Interbrand India MD Ashish Mishra said, “Growth in a changing world’ is best exemplified by the Indian market. We are one of the fastest growth markets as well as the one that is undergoing maximum change. The upward mobility, democratization and technology are the forces that will drive change which in turn will drive growth, which will further drive change thus creating a virtuous upward spiral. Within this future, Brands will have to make that “meaningful demand driving connection” between people and technology. Forging stronger connections in the world’s most populous nation will also be a happy fillip to its celebrated heterogeneity and drive the evolution of society at large.”

The five Top Growing Brands include Facebook (48% growth) who leads for the second year running, Amazon (29%), Adobe (19%), Adidas (17%) and Starbucks (16%).

More than half of the Best Global Brands came from four sectors: Automotive (16), Technology (15), Financial Services (12), and Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (9).

Retail is the top growing sector in percentage terms (19%), followed by Sporting Goods (10%), Technology (8%), Logistics (7%), and Financial Services (6%).

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