Retailers dominate Australia's strongest and most valuable brands lists

Brand Finance Australia list shows Bunnings to be the country's strongest brand, while Woolworths is the most valuable

Bunnings has leapt eight places to become Australia’s strongest brand while Woolworths is the country’s most valuable, according to the latest Brand Finance charts.

The latest 2022 report shows Woolworths retained its spot at the top of the most valuable brands list at a valuation of $13.2 billion. It was one of several retailers to appear in the top 10, ensuring retail as the nation’s most valuable sector with a cumulative brand value of $40.4 billion, or 25 per cent of total brand value nationally.  

Second place in terms of value was Telstra ($10.2bn), again holding onto its spot for another year. The telco was followed by BHP ($10bn), then Coles, which grew its brand value 26 per cent to $9.9bn. By contrast, the Commonwealth Bank saw its brand value dip 2 per cent to $8.9bn, dropping it from third to fifth place.

In a similar vein, ANZ’s brand value was down 3 per cent to $6.2bn. However, NAB’s value increased by 6 per cent to $5.9bn, while Westpac brand value lifted 7 per cent to $5.2bn. Overall, bank brand value growth was up 7 per cent but still under previous years’ results after an 11 per cent dip in 2021.

Brand Finance said the banks have suffered brand strength losses overall due to lower scores across customer perception metrics. The agency also noted banks are currently embroiled in lawsuits pertaining to consumer credit insurance claims, driving down perceptions of their consideration, reputation and value for money.

Alongside brand value, Brand Finance presented a top 10 brand list in terms of strength. The strength of a brand was ascertained using several metrics including marketing investment, stakeholder equity and business performance. This is certified by ISO 20671, with stakeholder equity incorporating original market research data from about 100,000 respondents in 35 countries and nearly 30 sectors.

Leading this list was Bunnings, leaping eight spots to become Australia’s strongest brand with a brand strength index (BSI) score of 88.5 out of 100 and AAA brand strength rating. Brand Finance pointed out Bunnings remained top-of-mind for many Australian consumers through the pandemic and also played a role in vaccination uptake through pop-up clinics in remote areas.  

In second place for strength was Woolworths, with a brand strength improvement of +3.2 points to 86.9 out of 100 and a corresponding AAA brand strength rating. Third place was taken by Officeworks (86.5), while Coles (85.5) and NRMA (84.4) rounded out the top five. Again, retail outperformed other sectors in terms of brand strength, taking out the top four spots.

Brand Finance noted that over the last year, retailers have strengthened their brands due to the pandemic, which allowed them to keep their doors open while much of the economy was closed. It also saw them taking up a greater share of voice in the advertising space.

Yet by contrast, Qantas, whose services were severely impacted by crisis conditions, bucked this trend to re-enter the top 10 strongest Australian brands, jumping five spots to seventh position. The airline brand holds a BSI score of 82.4 out of 100 and a corresponding AAA- brand strength rating, indicating a strong recovery from the sector-wide standstill caused by the pandemic. Qantas former CMO, Jo Boundy, was honoured for the brand's efforts as #1 in the CMO50 2021 list of Australia's most innovative and effective marketing leaders.

“Qantas’ recovery is testament to the iconic brand’s enduring strength that fortified the business against the impact of the pandemic, but also ensured it was well placed to take advantage of the recovery in the airline sector,” Brand Finance Australia MD, Mark Crowe, commented.

Another strong performer this year is Flight Centre, the third fastest-growing brand in the Brand Finance Australia 100 2022 ranking, behind Seven (up 78 per cent to $564 million) and Lindeman’s (up 75 per cent to $896 million). At the beginning of 2021, Flight Centre was the fastest-falling brand in Australia, experiencing a 58 per cent decrease in brand value. This year, Brand Finance said the brand reclaimed much of its value, rising by 68 per cent to $683 million.

Another sector showing some improvement this year is the telecoms industry. Having experienced a cumulative brand value loss of 16 per cent last year, Brand Finance found the sector improved 10 per cent this year. Helping the situation was Vodafone, which entered the rankings in 78th position with a brand value of $409 million.

“Despite an overall increase in brand value, Australian telcos continue to face challenges that impact their brand strength, including a diminishing sense of trust among consumers,” Crowe said.

Also contributing to these challenges are questions surrounding telecoms brands’ selling practices, criticism of the disparity of the 5G rollout, and ongoing federal court proceedings against Telstra, Optus and TPG over NBN speeds, he said.

“The challenge for larger telecoms brands is the need to make significant steps to improve customer relations and, subsequently, their reputations,” Crowe said.

Global brand leaders

At a global level, TikTok was honoured as the world’s fastest growing brand, chalking up 215 per cent year-on-year brand value growth to reach US$59 billion.

Apple held onto top position as the world’s most valuable brand with a 35 per cent increase to US$355.1bn. Amazon came in second, crossing the US$300bn brand value mark with a 38 per cent increase to US$350.3bn, followed by Google (up 38 per cent to US$263.4bn).

WeChat remains the world’s strongest brand, retaining the title for the second consecutive year, with a BSI score of 93.3 out of 100 and AAA+ rating.

In total, four out of the top five strongest global brands come from the media sector, compared to only two before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Joining WeChat at the top of the ranking is Google, climbing from 39th to third with a BSI score of 93.3, followed by YouTube, which rose from 27th to fourth place (BSI of 93.2). South Korean brand, Naver, rounded off the media brands in the top five, jumping 99 places to fifth with a BSI score of 92.5.

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