Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, once said, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you aren’t in the room.” We might add that if almost everybody is saying great things about you, then you have an extremely valuable brand. This is one way to think about the results our newest visualization.
We found the data for our visualization at Forbes, which publishes an annual list of companies with the best brands. Researches considered only companies with a presence in the U.S. market (which excludes a lot of valuable companies overseas). Forbes then attributed a percentage of each company’s 3-year earnings to its brand—a higher portion for luxury goods, and a lower portion for everyone else. We used these numbers to create a cluster chart, where the size of each bubble corresponds to the value of the brand, and the color represents the industry.
Top Ten Companies with the Most Valuable Brands ($B)
1. Apple (Technology): $182.8B
2. Google (Technology): $132.1B
3. Microsoft (Technology): $104.9B
4. Facebook (Technology): $94.8B
5. Amazon (Technology): $70.9B
6. Coca-Cola (Beverages): $57.3B
7. Samsung (Technology): $47.6B
8. Disney (Leisure): $47.5B
9. Toyota (Automotive): $44.7B
10. AT&T (Telecom): $41.9B
Our visualization highlights how the tech sector dominates consumer perceptions of brand value, representing an incredible $872.6B in combined value. Each of the top 5 companies come from the technology sector, including 6 of the top 10. This isn’t a surprise if you’ve been paying attention to the stock market recently, where the so-called FAANG stocks have generated outsized returns for several years running (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google). If anything, the one surprise at the top of the list is that Netflix is missing; it’s way down at 55th on our list. “Netflix and chill” just doesn’t have the same appeal as iPhones.
Our visualization also makes it easy to see which sectors have the best brands. After technology, the automotive sector has the second highest collective brand value, led by companies like Toyota ($44.7B), Mercedes-Benz ($34.4B) and BMW ($31.4B). Volkswagen just barely makes it onto the list with a brand value of $7.9B, no doubt still recovering from its vehicle emissions scandal. The financial services and consumer packaged goods sectors both also stand out as industries with above-average brand valuations. Coca-Cola ($57.3B) deserves special mention as the only beverage company to crack the top 10.
To put it simply, the value of a brand is how customers perceive it. This means that brands can be fickle. Take Apple as an example, the most valuable brand in our visualization and perhaps of all time. Is the Galaxy S9 really all that different from the iPhone X? A string of corporate scandals or products that fail to deliver a premium experience suggest that Apple’s time atop the brand pyramid might be coming to an end. Then again, the company sold well over 50 million $1,000+ iPhone Xs, setting another record in revenue for the company. Good luck trying to compete with that type of premium brand loyalty.
Data: Table 1.1
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