Survivors and Thrivers

Latest Brandz Top 100 highlights the winners in tough times

Kantar’s 2020 survey of the world’s most valuable global brands makes fascinating reading. Last year, for example, Amazon reached the No.1 slot for the first time, displacing Apple to second place. This year the order remains the same – but Amazon’s brand value has grown by 32% since 2019. That level of year-on-year growth would be remarkable for a challenger brand; even though it’s a leader, Amazon hasn’t rested on its laurels.

Amazon’s dominance is a measure of how much we all shop online these days – and pandemics like COVID-19 only strengthen online retailing. Other brands making strides up the leader board include Instagram, up 47% in brand value in the past twelve months, and Netflix, which has gained 34%. Brands that enable us to navigate life via our digital devices have proved resilient in the face of a global health crisis. Many have thrived. Relative newcomers like TikTok show the power of disruptors; TikTok is ranked #79, but when Kantar measure the influence of brand alone it’s No.1 for brand contribution. Of the top 20 Risers, six came from technology and six from online retail. Another pointer to the ever-shifting global brandscape is that five of the top twenty risers come from China, with drinks brand Moutai recording the highest overall percentage gain in value.

Sectors that dropped in brand value since last year included banking, automotive, fast food and energy. Some of that can be put down to the pandemic, with lockdowns restricting entire nations to their homes and closing retail outlets. But even discounting the effects of the coronavirus, sectors that generate mountains of waste, such as fashion, may have to look long and hard at the throwaway culture they encourage.

2020 will be a year we will remember all our lives. The rapid spread of a global pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement has prompted people to ask what values really matter to them and how to reflect that in their choices. An advertiser boycott of Facebook, which includes big brands such as Coca-Cola and Starbucks, aims to pressure the company into taking a more pro-active role on hate speech. So far, Mark Zuckerberg has dismissed the threat as ‘PR’ and has refused to take action. Time will show whether he’s right. But as Kantar’s BrandZ™ report shows, there’s one thing that’s even more destructive to a brand than a pandemic. And that’s complacency.

Survivors and Thrivers - Latest Brandz Top 100 highlights the winners in tough times