Interbrand, a leading consultant which operates Brandchannel.com (the world's only online exchange about branding), recently released a report on the 100 best brands of 2015. Presenting the 100 best global brands, Jez Frampton, Global CEO of Interbrand, commented, “The Age of You began with an age-old truth: people want to be in control of their lives and, specifically, to personally design the life they want to live. And people are using brands to do it because brands are the vehicles through which things happen. As data and technology have helped optimize every experience, as GAFA brands (Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon) have changed the definition of service and connectivity, as people have gained access to greater and more nuanced choices, our expectations have been fundamentally retrained. Brands are now expected to move at the speed of people’s demands—at the speed of their lives.”
What are the hallmarks of the 100 best global brands?
“Brands across all categories are not only adopting innovative technologies but also embracing holistic change in order to become stronger, faster and more agile,” shared Paola Norambuena, Chief Content Officer at Interbrand.
Clarity of strategy and focus on structure clarity is one of the hallmarks and a source of brands’ strength. In order to be coherent, efficient, and meet consumer expectations, top-performing brands lean on an ambitious vision that shapes both behaviors and structures.
Relentless customer-centricity is another core value that created cross-industry leaders like Apple, Facebook and Amazon. Many other brands are evolving by developing design-led strategies that place customers at the core.
Tech-powered personalization enabled top brands across all industries to build unprecedented, personal experiences.
Clarity, customer-centricity and using technology to power personal experiences are all hallmarks of the brands that have made the most impressive improvements this year. Each company proved that there is no universal template of a great brand.
Companies across 17 industries are represented in the 100 best brands list: automotive, media, technology, sporting goods, luxury, apparel, FMCG, beverages, financial services, retail, transportation, alcohol, electronics, business services, diversified, restaurants and energy.
Financial services companies represent 12% of the 100 best global brands, taking the third place. The least represented are companies in the energy sector, sporting goods, restaurants industry, transportation retail and business services.
Interestingly, automotive and technology industries have the most number of companies among the 100 best global brands—15% and 13% respectively. Among companies representing the financial services industry that made it to the list are industry giants like American Express, JPMorgan, HSBC, Citi, Goldman Sachs, AXA, Allianz, Morgan Stanley and others. American Express leads the valuation race with almost $19 billion at the table.
The 13 technology brands in this year’s Best Global Brands report represent more than a third (33.5%) of the $1.7 trillion total, making technology this year’s leading sector by value. Even though counted in technology, today's tech companies have gone beyond the traditional understanding of the technology, entering the financial services industry. Introducing financial services, tech giants blurred the lines dividing the sectors and demonstrated the ability to change and adapt to behavioral and market trends.
Altogether, companies from the financial services industry are worth more than $111 billion while automotive leads with more than $234 billion in value. The highest growth among FS companies was demonstrated by MasterCard (+17%). HSBC, on the contrary, had an 11% fall. PayPal is the new entrant that has expanded the presence of FinTech companies’.
Traditional FS companies didn’t take any of the top 10 positions, with technology, automotive, retail and business services companies leading the ranking. With the launch of Apple Pay, Apple can be now called a FinTech giant. As expected, the company took the gold in the listing, with Google and Coca-Cola behind. The distinction between tech giants and financial services companies is getting less vivid over time as companies start invading traditional banking giants’ space with innovative solutions. Microsoft, for example, is actively involved in FinTech with a variety of initiatives. IBM is intensively working on self-learning AI machine Watson, which can revolutionize the financial advising sector. Google's Wallet takes the tech giant across the border, enabling almost instant bank account transactions.
Companies that demonstrated the highest growth in value are led by Facebook, which now can also be counted among FinTech giants (+54%) since it expanded opportunities for e-commerce and adding a money transfer function. This year’s fastest risers—Apple (+43%), Facebook (+54%), Amazon (+29%), and Adobe (+17%)—are brands that have evolved around their users. Being user-centric, these brands were able to grow their audiences quickly and evolve their products and services according to the demand and market opportunities. Tremendous difference in the growth pace of traditional financial industry players and tech giants in favor of the last ones demonstrate the shift of control in the market, where technology leads the game.
Top technology companies demonstrated an outstanding ability to explore new opportunities and expand their services. What’s particularly interesting is the fact that leading tech companies are getting their hands dirty in financial services industry. Finance and retail brands are placing their bets on technology brands’ mobile payment solutions (Ex: Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay, etc.). The trend demonstrated opportunities and the advantages tech giants have with an innovative approach to banking, transactions and other FS’.