Sixteen vehicle manufacturers, one more than in 2016, are firmly ensconced in this year’s Interbrand study. Ferrari drives in for the first time.
In a world currently dominated by the debate on diesel, depleting fossil fuel resources and increasingly electro-mobility as the silver bullet to reduce pollution levels on wheels, automobile manufacturers continue to hold sway when it comes to pure brand strength. Technology, though, continues to steer ahead of the automotive sector, thanks to the surging demand for new-age tools in terms of connectivity, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and digital experience. Meanwhile, automakers, purely on the power and panache of their products and aspirational connect with consumers, retain their strong showing on the branding front.
In the latest global study – Interbrand 2017 Best Global Brands – automakers have maintained their top dog status, as they did last year. This year, 16 auto brands – Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Honda, Ford, Hyundai, Audi, Nissan, Volkswagen, Kia, Land Rover, Harley Davidson, Mini, and Ferrari – and one energy major – Shell – are well entrenched in the Top 100 most valued global brands. From India’s perspective, the Tata Motors’ owned Land Rover, which is part of Jaguar Land Rover family contributes, 80 percent to Tata Motors’ annual revenue, and is a part of the automotive firmament in this year’s list.
While the biggies – Apple and Google – continue to top the charts and retain their respective top two most valuable brand positions, Microsoft has replaced Coca-Cola as the third most valued brand.
“Brands start and end with people. So it’s important to acknowledge a significant shift in the way people interact with brands — they expect to connect to an authentic purpose and values,” says Jez Frampton, CEO, Interbrand. “Technology is changing people’s behaviours and expectations faster than we can create and innovate. While innovation is crucial, it doesn’t necessarily put a business ahead in the market — it may simply keep it on par.”
Apple and Google have claimed the top positions for the fifth straight year. While Apple’s brand value has grown by three percent to $184,154 million (Rs 1,163,300 crore), Google’s value has risen by six percent to $141,703 million (Rs 895,137 crore). Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Amazon, Samsung, Toyota, Facebook, Mercedes-Benz and IBM make up for the outstanding Top 10 valued brands in this year’s list. The Top 10 Brands hold 42 percent or $786.2 billion (Rs 4,966,425 crore) of the Best Global Brands total value of $1,872 billion (Rs 11,825,424 crore).
Continuing its superlative growth, Facebook has climbed seven spots, improving its brand value by 29 percent at $48,188 million (Rs 304,403 crore) becoming the biggest gainer, followed by Amazon which climbed three spots to attain No. 5 position, valued at $64,796 million (Rs 409,316 crore). This year’s new entrants in the list includes Netflix coming in at 78, Salesforce at 84, and Ferrari at 88.
The total brand value witnessed a growth of over 54 percent in the last 10 years, and in 2017 alone the total value grew by 4.2 percent, averaging 3.1 percent for individual brands.
As per the findings of the latest study, over 50 percent of the best global brands consist of companies from the automotive, technology, financial services, and FMCG sectors. Technology and automotive continue to be the top 2 sectors making up the bulk of the overall total.
In 2016, the global automotive industry is estimated to have sold over 88.1 million cars, a whopping increase of around 46.83 percent compared to the previous year. India made up for an estimated 3.4 percent in the global share, selling over 3 million cars in 2016.
The report mentions technology as a key enabler to move ahead in the highly competitive globalised world, with Chinese rideshare brand Didi Chuxing, Indian online marketplace Flipkart, and US e-commerce and payments provider Square reaching valuations of $50 billion (Rs 315,850 crore), $11 billion (Rs 69,487 crore) and $6 billion (Rs 37,902 crore) respectively. Integrated systems and collaborative tools that provide seamless communication should be a given, but are often overlooked. Beyond that: acquiring, investing in, or partnering with younger, faster brands is effective.“If you can’t beat them, join them.”
Customer is the brand driver
All the top companies have one thing in common for the brand to truly succeed, customer acceptance is the key. With tons of options, data and information available at one’s fingertips, the fight for the customer, across industries, is where the companies tick or otherwise. The survey reveals that 70 percent of buying experiences are based on how customers feel they are being treated. In today’s fast-changing digital world, many companies are moving towards providing integrated – real and virtual – interaction with the consumer.
Recommended reading: Tata Group and Mahindra in Top 10 of the 2017 Best India Brands study