The Covid effect: Which brand has fared best this year?

In a year rocked by the global coronavirus pandemic some brands are doing better, while others are facing a challenging business environment, this year’s Best Global Brands report has found

Technology brands have dominated the top global brands of 2020, with Apple coming in first place, followed by Amazon and Microsoft, according to Interbrand’s 21st annual Best Global Brands report.  

The rest of the top 10 comprises Google, Samsung, Coca-Cola, Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, McDonald’s and Disney, and the top ten brands account for 50 per cent of the total table value this year. 

This year's report analyses how the world’s leading companies are successfully navigating a rapidly changing business landscape amid a global pandemic that has had a significant impact on business. 

Not surprisingly, social media and communication brands have fared well in the past 12 months, with Instagram (#19), YouTube (#30) and Zoom (#100) entering the rankings for the first time. Tesla has re-entered the rankings at #40 with a brand value of US$12,785m, having last appeared in the Best Global Brands table in 2017. 

Media companies have also seen success among the turmoil created by Covid, with Spotify (#70) jumping 22 places in the ranking and increasing brand value by 52 per cent to US$8,389 million, while Netflix rose to #41 with a 41 per cent increase to US$12,665 million. Business models have played a role in this success, with 62 per cent of double-digit risers relying on significant subscription model businesses.

The Covid effect

The 2020 Best Global Brands ranking also reflected the ‘Covid effect’, with global shop closures causing the brand values of Zara (#35) and H&M (#37) to fall 13 per cent and 14 per cent respectively, dropping at least six places in this years’ ranking. After two years as the top growing sector, luxury brands took a hit in 2020, with all but one brand value, Hermes (#28), falling between 1-9 per cent.

Other brands and industries have benefitted from the ‘Covid effect’, notably logistics which saw an average of 5 per cent growth – UPS (#24), FedEx (#75) and DHL (#81) all saw positive brand valuation growth, as the logistics sector became more central to our lives in lockdown. 

The pandemic has seen the sudden shift to electronic as the primary payment method and the swift roll out of programs to support local business during pandemic lockdown, benefitting these trusted brands, who provide access to capital in times of economic uncertainty. This is evident in the rankings for PayPal (#60), Visa (#45) and Mastercard (#57) that have also risen 12, 10 and 5th places, respectively.

The brand analysis research has revealed several key aspects of brand value. Interbrand global CEO, Charles Trevail, said leadership, engagement and relevance are three consistent themes to brands successfully navigating the rapidly changing business landscape.

“They are the keys to unlock results in the current crisis, building customer confidence and business resilience,” said Trevail. 

The brand analysis found leadership in the form of setting a worthy purpose and powerful ambition beyond turbulence and chaos helps brands to put a flag in the future. Tesla’s brand – its flag in the future – has driven demand and advocacy from its inception, for example, and has also built enormous liquidity by attracting and retaining a loyal following of retail investors. 

In terms of engagement, great brands make consumers want to be part of their story by taking them on a shared journey. The report said Salesforce has seen explosive growth by listening to customer communities and celebrating them, rather than the product.   

And when it comes to relevance, great brands lift consumers from indifference and make consumer choices meaningful. The report said PayPal is one of the most trusted payment brands thanks to the work it has done to mitigate its customers concerns around fraud and to keep consumers’ money safe. And at a time of heightened anxiety and economic uncertainty, nothing matters more.  

“By setting out powerful ambitions and pursuing them with courage and conscience, brands can help us lift our heads, make sense of chaos, and see beyond it, championing a new decade of possibility, Trevail said

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