Technology leaders tops most valuable U.S. brands study

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Technology leaders tops most valuable U.S. brands study

By Marianne Wilson - 11/14/2017
Five technology companies took the top five spots in a new ranking of the most valuable brands.

Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook topped BrandZ's first-ever Top 100 Most Valuable U.S. Brands ranking, by WPP and Kantar Millward Brown.

The U.S. Top 100 brand value totaled $3.16 trillion, with the top 10 brands accounting for half of the total.  Overall, technology brands accounted for 19 of the U.S. Top 100 and $1.2 trillion, or more than one-third of the total value. The valuation behind the ranking was conducted by Kantar Millward Brown, which specializes in brand equity research and brand valuation.

Key take-aways from the BrandZ U.S. Top 100 study include:

• Meaningful difference always makes the difference: With a score of 187 (100 is the average), Apple delivers the most meaningful difference. But even in the challenging airline category, brands can deliver meaning. Southwest Airlines (number 74 at $8.1 billion), known for its quirky ads, its authentic social media engagement and its sponsorship that helps military veterans travel to war memorials, scored 149 on meaningful difference.

• U.S. consumers have high standards with regard to brands and data: The American consumer is one of the most sophisticated in the world and expects better service in exchange for the data they share. Consumers no longer accept being lumped into a gender/age bracket and will quickly disengage with brands that don't show relevance.

• Going asset-light pays off heavily: Technology and services are transforming a traditionally product-first society into one where many brands are going "asset-light," no longer owning the full value chain and sometimes not any part of it. Instead, they focus on brokering the final product, offering services or value in other ways to improve the customer experience.

• Brand experience makes or breaks brands: Americans place a high premium on time and show loyalty to brands that deliver a thoughtful, fulfilling brand experience. FedEx and Amazon rank first and second for brand experience as, often together, they offer selection, convenience and speed in the online shopping experience.

• Get out of the bubble: The American brand world can be highly insular, with marketers, agencies, and employees often sharing a narrow, largely urban worldview. For example, New Yorkers likely have more in common with Londoners than they have with Midwesterners. Marketers need to understand and connect with real consumers across their entire geography, or risk losing ground to more in-touch competitors. Occasionally this includes hearing uncomfortable truths, but that's preferable to communicating without information.

• The Silicon Valley mindset continues to influence the U.S. and the world: American companies and workers are among the most innovative in the world, and show no signs of slowing down. The innovation demonstrated by the Top 100 brands is evident, while transformative businesses are challenging brands, companies and markets. From Airbnb to Uber, Lyft and WeWork, Americans are rethinking how they work, travel, engage and live.

The brands ranked all meet these eligibility criteria: They were originally created in the U.S., and the brand owned by a publicly traded enterprise, or its financials are published in the public domain. For telecom providers, the brand is owned by a U.S.-listed company and mainly operates in the U.S.

Click here to see the complete ranking.