Computers and artificial intelligence have come along at an exponential rate over the past few decades, from being regarded as oversized adding machines to the point where they have played integral roles in some legitimately creative endeavours.
The record-breaking success of the latest Star Wars franchise has seen Disney becomes the world’s most powerful brand for 2016, taking over the top spot from Lego.
The latest Brand Finance report on the world’s most powerful and valuable brands found Walt Disney leapt 23 spots to number one in the past year with a brand value of US$31.7 billion. Rounding out the top five most powerful brands globally were Lego (US$4.5bn), L’Oreal (US$14.99bn), PricewaterhouseCoopers (US$18.6bn) and McKinsey (US$4.9bn).
The report also found Apple remains the most valuable brand globally, despite slowing sales, with a 14 per cent year on-year increase to US$145.9bn. This was partly the result of a record-breaking Q4, where the tech company reported revenues of US$51.5bn and profits of US$11.1bn.
On the flip side, VW saw the biggest fall and was one of the worst-performing brands on the list following its emissions scandal, which shaved US$12bn off its brand value.
There were also changes in the Australian brand rankings, with Telstra becoming top brand locally off the back of a 23 per cent increase in brand value. Knocked off its perch and into second place after seven years in the top spot was Woolworths, which experienced a 13 per cent decrease in value over the past year.
“As flagged in last year’s result, Telstra is now Australia’s number one brand despite increasing competition especially in the mobile division,” said Brand Finance Australia managing director, Mark Crowe.
“It is testimony to Telstra’s continued brand strength, which has driven a 23 per cent increase in value despite only a 3.6 per cent increase in revenue”.
Telstra also climbed 35 places to be ranked 110 in the Global 500.
Australia’s top five most valuable brands for 2016 are Telstra, Woolworths, ANZ, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac. Rival supermarket player, Coles (seventh) and rival telco player, Optus (eighth), also made it into the top 10 locally.
Across the board, Brand Finance noted seven of this year’s 10 fastest-growing brands globally are Chinese, including WeChat, which grew its user base 40 per cent between late 2014 and 2015 and saw its brand value lift 83 per cent as a result.