In focus: The biggest brands of 2020

Many years from now, 2020 will be remembered as a year of transformation and new beginnings, not just as a year of the deadly pandemic. As the world still struggles to combat the health crisis, assessments are being made at several levels to understand the actual impact of the pandemic.

Interbrand’s Best Global Brands 2020 report gives us a fair idea about the pandemic effect on top global brands. Overall the Top 100 Best Global Brands has swelled by 9% with their total brand valuation at about $2 trillion. However, a deeper look at the figures tells the story of a divide. The Covid-19 pandemic has widened inequalities globally at all quarters. The same polarization is visible in this list, where 43% brands have grown rapidly while 57% have declined in value (as opposed to 29% decline in 2019).

World’s top brands

The report positions Apple as the most valuable global brand with an estimated valuation of $322.9 billion with a growth of 38%. Amazon claims the second spot in the list with an unparalleled growth of 60% and brand valuation of $200.6 billion. Microsoft is just a touch behind in the third position with 53% growth and estimated valuation of $166 billion. Fast growth has been a critical trait of this year’s winning brands.

With an accelerated global emphasis on digitization and tech advancements, tech brands expectedly dominate the top ten list with average growth of 20%, which is 6 points more than the average brand growth across the grid. American companies occupy seven spots in the top ten list, while three spots are claimed by South Korea’s Samsung, Japan’s auto giant Toyota and Germany’s Mercedes Benz.

Image Source: Statista

Biggest Risers

Apart from Amazon and Microsoft, Spotify with 52% growth, Netflix and Adobe with 41% growth, have been the biggest risers amid the Covid-19 lockdowns. The top performing brands surpassed other brands with three brand strength factors – Empathy, Agility and Affinity.

Nadella led Microsoft’s incredible cultural transformation by connecting the core business with customers’ needs through a deep sense of empathy, along with business priority and an innovation ethos. Amazon made agility exponential with increasing R&D investments – in 2018, it invested $28 billion on R&D. Spotify succeeded in developing a deep affinity with customers by delivering on its promise of putting the world’s music in their pocket. Another important business aspect of over 50% of the top growing brands is that they have significant subscription model ventures.

New Entrants

Social media and communication brands have done exceptionally well in the last year. The trend was further accelerated in the aftermath of the pandemic when people resorted to technology to stay connected with friends and family. Instagram claimed the 19th position, while YouTube ranked at 30, and Zoom barely made it to the list ranking at 100 with 389% rise in market capitalization in the past year.

Tesla made a grand come back to the list of Global Best Brands after three years, ranking at 40. In the past year Tesla’s market cap rose by 769% with a 10% increase in revenue in the last 6 months. Johnnie Walker also re-entered the list at 98th position despite bearing the brunt of the Covid-19 crisis.

Looking Ahead

With only 41 brands from the 2000 list of Best Global Brands remaining in the current list, it bears a testament of rapid business transformation. The relationship between business organizations and consumers is also shifting. With climate change gaining greater momentum, consumers now expect business enterprises to do more for the society and the environment. Changes brought by the pandemic created this year’s winners and losers and for the coming years too, change will remain a key determining factor.


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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