Google is the world’s first AU$140 billion brand and number one for the third year running in the fourth annual BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands ranking published recently by Millward Brown Optimor. The ranking reveals that brands sustain their value, despite the tough economic environment.

The BrandZ Top 100 ranking identifies the dollar value of brands. It does this by combining financial data with research on consumers and business-to-business users from BrandZ, the world’s largest brand equity study.

The value of the top 100 brands has held its value at AUD$2.74 tillion (US$1.95 trillion), a marginal increase of 1.7%. Google is number one with a value of AUD$140 billion (US$100 billion), Microsoft is number two at AUD$107 billion (US$76.2 billion) and Coca-Cola enters the top three for the first time at AUD$95 billion (US$67.6 billion).

Ben Dixon, MD, Millward Brown Australia said:

“The top three global brands of 2009 are household names in Australia. These brands demonstrate the benefits of investing in and engaging with local markets to build brand loyalty. As this study has shown, even in tough economic times brand value can increase where you have a loyal customer base.”

There are a total of 15 new brands entering the ranking this year. Pampers is the highest entrant at number 31, followed by Nintendo at number 32 and VISA at number 36.  Trends that can be identified from this year’s rankings are:

  • Value: Brands that represent good value for money have done well, this is about quality as much as price, for example Wal-Mart (+19%), ALDI (+49%) and Auchan (+48%). H&M (+8 percent) is now the number one apparel brand.
  • Vice: People still reward themselves with little treats when money is tight. Brands such as McDonald’s (+34%), Marlboro (+33%) and Budweiser (+23%) have all done well.
  • At Home: Brands that can be experienced at home have shown strong growth. This includes home shopping: Amazon (+85%) and eBay (+16%); Coffee that can be prepared at home: Nespresso (+27%) and Nescafe (+23%); and gaming – Nintendo jumped into the ranking for the first time at number 32.
  • Wireless: The increased popularity of using the internet on the move through devices such as the iPhone and BlackBerry has led to huge increases for the mobile operators category as a whole, driven by demand for data services. Vodafone enters the top 10 for the first time this year (+45%).

 Commenting on the ranking, Eileen Campbell, Global CEO of Millward Brown said:

“It is a fantastic achievement to be one of the most valuable brands in the world, and we congratulate all brands that are featured in this ranking. At a time when marketing spend is under greater scrutiny than ever, this ranking is a way for marketers to identify the value that their brand is creating for the business.”

The Top 10:

  1. Google
  2. Microsoft
  3. Coca-Cola
  4. IBM
  5. McDonalds
  6. Apple
  7. China Mobile
  8. GE
  9. Vodafone
  10. Marlboro

The complete BrandZ ranking, including regional and category breakdowns, is available online: www.millwardbrown.com/brandz. The rankings are also available as a free iPhone application from these sites and from the iTunes store.

Background information, methodology and history about the BrandZ Rankings:

Developed for WPP’s operating companies by Millward Brown Optimor, the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands ranking entered its fourth year in 2009. It is unique because it takes into account the opinions of consumers and business-to-business users from over 20 countries each year. This input comes from BrandZ, the world’s largest brand equity study.

The BrandZ study, commissioned by WPP and conducted annually by Millward Brown, measures the brand equity of thousands of global consumer facing and business-to-business brands, and has interviewed over one million consumers globally. Consumer perception of a brand is a key input in determining brand value because brands are a combination of business performance, product delivery, clarity of positioning, and leadership. 

The BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands ranking is calculated using a methodology called, Economic Use which is emerging as the preferred way to calculate brand valuation.  This means that brand value is calculated by looking at the role that brand plays in the purchase decision and identifying what proportion of the business value can be attributed purely to the brand. Besides inputs from the BrandZ study, the ranking uses financial data from Bloomberg and market and product data from Datamonitor. The ranking takes into account regional variations since even for truly global brands measures of brand contribution might differ substantially across countries.

The ranking provides the following:

  • Brand Value – expressed in dollars
  • Brand Contribution – an indication of the brand’s effectiveness in driving business earnings. This is expressed as an index from one to 10 (10 being high)
  • Brand Momentum – the index of expected short-term brand growth. This is expressed from one to 5 (5 being high), and
  • Brand Value as a percentage of market cap – due to the dramatic fluctuations currently being experienced in the financial markets, this is expressed by the calculation for the financial institutions and insurance categories instead of momentum.

The following tables are published:

  • Top 100 Brands by Brand Value, and
  • Regional rankings (in terms of the country where the brand has its principle listing).

Category rankings:

  • Apparel
  • Beer
  • Bottled Water
  • Cars
  • Coffee
  • Fast Food
  • Financial Institutions
  • Gaming
  • Insurance
  • Luxury
  • Mobile Operators
  • Motor Fuel
  • Personal Care
  • Retail
  • Soft Drinks
  • Spirits
  • Technology