Tech behemoths maintain brand dominance as sustainability is key, says Kantar

James is editor in chief of TechForge Media, with a passion for how technologies influence business and several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.

Tech companies continue to dominate the biggest global brand lists – as the latest ranking from WPP and Kantar shows the largest brands are in a solid position to recover and thrive post-Covid-19.

The 2020 BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands ranking saw Amazon retain top spot and Apple again secure second place, with Microsoft and Google swapping places for third and fourth. The latter was down to a 30% brand value change for Microsoft compared with last year, although this remains below Amazon’s 32% positive change.

For the rest of the top 10, the only new entrant was Mastercard, up 18% in brand value from last year. Facebook, down 7%, and McDonald’s (-1%) were the only brands in the top 10 whose value declined year on year.

In total, US brands represented more than half of the top 100 list, with Asian brands representing a quarter. China contributed 17 of those 25, with Alibaba and Tencent in the top 10, as well as two of the five new entrants in TikTok (#79) and Bank of China (#97).

One of the primary areas the report explores is sustainability – a key issue not only during a global pandemic, but for Generation Z. “Sustainability has migrated from a marketing issue about publicity or a niche segment to a foundational issue about the biggest opportunities in the marketplace,” the report noted. “For companies to hold their own in a marketplace in which sustainability has emerged as a central imperative, they must think beyond the comfort zone of business as usual.”

As Covid-19 has progressed, the imperative of sustainability – a sense of resetting – has become apparent, yet the report warns of potential problems, including the competing interests of various stakeholders. “People will not reward a brand for doing the right thing, but they may penalise a brand for not doing the right thing, rejecting it for a competitor,” the report added. To exemplify this trend – ‘sustainability is the new luxury’ – only four luxury brands, led by Louis Vuitton (#19) made the top 100 list.

Yet the tech giants continue to hold the main cards. “Innovation has proven to be a key driver for growth in this year’s top 100, and a way to prevent decline,” said Dorren Wang, global head of BrandZ at Kantar. “Creativity is also an important trait for the world’s most valuable brands. Companies like Amazon, Appple 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.”

The top 10 brands, in descending order, are: Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Google, Visa, Alibaba, Tencent, Facebook, McDonald’s, and Mastercard.

You can read the full report here (376 pages, pdf, no opt-in).

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