The most valuable Australian brands in 2019: Afterpay joins top 40, retail giants slip

WPP and Kantar have released the annual BrandZ top 40, with fresh faces in Australia Post and Afterpay and poor trust damaging financial and telecoms brands.

WPP and its former market research house Kantar (now majority owned by Bain Capital) have revealed the top 40 most valuable Australian brands in 2019 according to the BrandZ benchmark. 

“BrandZ research highlights the importance of a strong brand as one of the key building blocks of resilient businesses,” says Ryan France, Kantar Australia executive director of brand. 

“Overall, Australia’s biggest brands have dropped 5% to US$96.8 (AU$144.1) billion [in brand value] led by the telecommunications sector witnessing an 18% fall as major players struggled with reduced margins.

“However, there are eight new entrants to the ranking in 2019. This demonstrates that no-one can be complacent. Companies that don’t invest in developing a strong brand can easily be replaced by those that are more effective in meeting consumer needs.”

According to WPP and Kantar, brands involved in the new digital retail economy are clear leaders in mastering what the report defines as key brand building indicators for the year – innovation and experience. 2019 saw new entrants TNT at 12th, TAB at 14th, QBE at 19th, Afterpay at 20th, Australia Post at 21st, Sportsbet at 24th, The Star at 30th and Toll at 34th enter the BrandZ top 40 rankings.

Losing their places from 2018’s top 40 rankings were Harvey Norman (at 25th in 2018), BOQ (29th in 2018), Bendigo Bank (31st in 2018), David Jones (32nd in 2018), Liquorland (35th in 2018), Crown Lager (36th in 2018), Dan Murphy’s (39th in 2018) and Jetstar (40th in 2018).

Notably, iconic Australian retailer David Jones slipped from 25th last year to not appearing on the 2019 list at all. Woolworths’ Big W also took a hit in brand value, slipping from 30th in 2018 to 36th this year. Both retailers have been struggling in the digital retail era, with David Jones reporting its third consecutive year of sales contraction and Woolworths embarking on an aggressive store-closing spree to consolidate costs.

It’s been a challenging couple of years for the banking sector also, riddled with government and media-driven misconduct exposés. However despite a 13% drop in total category brand value, financial institutions have remained relatively unscathed in BrandZ’s rankings, occupying half of the top ten spots.

According to WPP and Kantar, the dividing line between many of the ‘best performers’ and those that struggled was their perceived level of consumer trust. “Bunnings is a brilliant example of the power of combining consumer trust with being highly meaningful and different from the competition,” says James Brown, Kantar Australia executive director of retail and shopper. 

BrandZ placed Bunnings in ninth place for 2019’s brand rankings, evaluating the Bunnings brand at US$2.7 (AU$4.0) billion; Bunnings is also the most trusted brand, according to the report, with a score of 144 and achieving growth of 46% from 2018.

“Those that achieved this compelling mix performed six times better in this year’s ranking,” continues Brown, “and while bricks and mortar retail is facing some challenges, the sector still boasts some of our most trusted brands and this is a strong asset to have as they navigate the tough economic climate. 

“Aussie consumers do trust those brands that are highly meaningful and different from their competitors.”

Here are the top 10 most valuable brands from 2019’s BrandZ:

BrandZ top 10 2019

Further Reading:

Josh Loh
BY Josh Loh ON 2 September 2019
Josh Loh is assistant editor at MarketingMag.com.au