CommBank breaks top 100 global brands

The Commonwealth Bank has become the first Australian brand to break into the world’s top 100 most valuable brands, debuting at number 60 on Millward Brown’s BrandZ list.

The annual ‘Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands’ study valued CommBank at $13.1 billion, in a climate which saw almost half the top 100 brands lose value, a decline not seen since the depths of the 2009 global recession.

However, of the 49 brands that dropped value over the past year, financial performance, not brand, was the more critical determinant for the lion’s share of the decline, with brand measures remaining generally stable or growing for most. The study uses financial data, market intelligence and consumer measures of brand equity to arrive at its ranking.

Read: Marketing‘s things to keep in mind when reading a top brand list.

Technology and telecommunication brands dominate the global list, accounting for seven of the top 10, 31 of the top 100 and nearly half the value. Apple took out top spot, with a jump of 19%, or more than $30 billion in a year, to take its value $182.9 billion. IBM grew 15% in value to $115.9 billion and overtook Google as the second most valuable brand, which dropped to third place in the ranking and is now worth $107.8 billion.

BrandZ Global Top10 jpg

Millward’s Brown Australian spokesperson, Johnny Panagiotidis, says brand has served as an insurance policy for businesses over the past year, providing the buoyancy to navigate economic turbulence. “Ultimately, businesses with a strong brand are much more resilient, with people willing to pay a premium to buy from a desired brand.”

While Millward Brown would not release any data on Australian businesses, Panagiotidis revealed that CommBank has one of the highest brand strengths in the country. Combined with its financial performance this was enough to propel it into the top 100, and to number 11 in the banking category worldwide.

Fast growing markets also performed well over the past year, to account for 20 of the top 100 (up from 2 in 2006), including the first entry from an African brand – South African mobile company MTN placing at number 88 with a value of $9.2 billion

In the retail space, brands successfully creating an omni-channel presence prospered, as demonstrated by the growth experienced by Walmart, which knocked Amazon from the top spot in the category with a value of $34.4 billion compared to Amazon’s $34 billion.

The report found that mobile, to some extent, has been shielded from the economic slowdown as one of the few items consumers don’t want to give up or cut back on. The most valuable telecommunicationss brand, AT&T, consolidated to seventh position on the overall list, with a value of $68.8 billion. Nipping at its heels was the USA’s largest mobile service provider, Verizon, which moved up four places to eighth spot, with a 15% increase in brand value to put its worth at $49.1 billion.

Closer to home, China Mobile topped the list of the most valuable Asian brands, despite a brand value drop of 18% on last year, with a value of $47 billion. Three banks made the top 10, as did Chinese search engine Baidu, valued at $24 billion, and Samsung, which entered the top 10 for the first time with a 16% increase in value to boost its worth to $14 billion.

According to Panagiotidis, while Apple’s value increased this year even more than the previous year, it was now facing stiff competition from Samsung. Thanks in part to the success of its Galaxy handsets, Samsung is successfully outpacing Apple in a significant number of markets by positioning as a cool, well-priced alternative to the ubiquitous, the study found.

BrandZ Asia Top10 jpg

The study also found that, globally, brands with women on the board outperformed those without them. 77% of the brands appearing in the list have women in the boardroom and the average value of brands with women on the boards is $27 billion, double that of companies without female directors.

An analysis of BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands as a ‘stock portfolio’, shown as part of the infographic below, found that strong brands performed more favourably in trading over the past seven years.

Click to view in full screen.BrandZ 2012 Infographic