Further to my post on the results of Interbrand’s Best Global Brands 2008 report, here are a few more interesting snippets on the state of branding in 2008.
Interbrand Sampson see the breakdown of total market capitalisation of the world’s top 100 brands as follows: 38% brand; 36% tangible assets and 26% intangible assets.
If you take a look at the new entrants for 2008 in my previous post you’ll see a number of luxury brands: Ferrari, Armani, Blackberry and so on. According to Jeremy Sampson, Founder and Group Executive Chairman at Interbrand, the luxury category defies the laws of economics. Even in tighter economic conditions they keep going, and the top end demand remains. It is also important to note that they have a global footprint so are less dependent on a single market for success.
Sustainability is the hot new topic at the moment, with Ford one of the biggest losers, dropping 12% of its brand value thanks to it being slow to implement green technologies. “Momentum is growing from a low base,” said Sampson.
Emerging markets offer a huge opportunity for brand builiding, said Sampson. These markets usually have 50% of the population under the age of 21 and are typically far less risk averse than Northern European markets.
And finally, some sound advice from Sampson: “Strong brands invest and grow more in difficult times to secure greater market share for when the upturn happens.” He calls this the “clean out phase” and expects that the brands with the deepest pockets will thrive.
Having said that, I think this is true across the board, and applies equally to national and small to medium sized brands.
Google entered the top 10 of the global brand charts with a brand valuation of $ 25.6 billion, increasing 43% since last year. This is according to Interbrand, which has become expert at putting a figure to brands over the last 20 years.
Jeremy Sampson, Founder and Group Executive Chairman at Interbrand, was discussing the latest report from Interbrand: Best Global Brands 2008, at the UCT GSB Deloitte lunch time chat last week.
The results were pretty interesting for anyone following brands – here is a quick overview of the headlines. You can pick up the full results on the Interbrand website.
Google up 43%
Apple up 24%
Amazon up 19%
Zara up 15%
Nintendo up 13%
The common factor amongst these brands is that they tap into the “we want what we want, when we want it, as we want it” culture and react very quickly to changing trends, said Sampson.
Ford down 12%
Citi down 14%
Morgan Stanley down 16%
Gap down 20%
Merrill Lynch down 21%
Ford in particular is lagging its competitors such as Toyota and Honda because it has not yet embraced green and sustainable technologies. Gap is lost in some sort of a fashion middle ground and so has seen three drops in a row. And finally, says Sampson, although this valuation was completed in June 2008 – it definitely signalled some of the rough water financial services firms were going to find themselves in.
New entrants of note:
H&M, Thomson Reuters, Blackberry (Canada’s only brand in the list), Ferrari, Armani, Marriott, Fedex and Visa.
And finally, the top 10 global brands:
1. Coca-Cola $66.66 billion
2. IBM $59.03 billion
3. Microsoft $59.00 billion
4. GE $53.08 billion
5. Nokia $35.90 billion
6. Toyota $34.05 billion
7. Intel $31.26 billion
8. MacDonalds $31.04 billion
9. Disney $29.25 billion
10. Google $25.59 billion
Read more here.
It seems strangely appropriate that in the middle of one of the craziest weeks in South African politics (and goodness knows we’ve had our fair share of interesting times*) the bulk of the country took a breather to celebrate the Heritage Day national holiday.
The holiday was originally instigated to recognise “aspects of South African culture which are both tangible and difficult to pin down: creative expression, our historical inheritance, language, the food we eat as well as the land in which we live” according the SA government information site.
Prior to the newly elected South African government revising public holidays, the 24th of September was an informal holiday in KwaZulu-Natal, commemorating the Zulu king Shaka.
As the description above itself says, the holiday now recognises difficult to pin down aspects of our culture. Frankly it’s a bit of a mystery to me what I should be celebrating. So I love that the holiday now has been sub-titled National Braai Day. Sure, this came about as the result of a media campaign, and I am sure the supermarkets love it, but in my opinion South Africans of all shapes, sizes and cultural backgrounds have hijacked this concept and made it their own.
This is a great example of an emerging popular culture attaching its own meaning to something that could previously have been considered a loaded symbol. For many a braai used to be a symbol of a white-male dominated, Afrikaans cultural activity.
This gives me great hope for the future of South Africa. It is a great indication of the emergence of a unified South African identity, which has successfully subverted previous negative connotations attached to national symbols.
Most importantly, this is a fairly spontaneous uprising by the general population, and not a top-down programme of cultural identity building.
This is a lesson many companies could do well to take note of. You can hold culture and value workshops until the workforce is able to recite the company mission statement off by heart. But unless the culture and values are reflected in the workforce at large, and more importantly actively endorsed by the staff, this is, in my opinion, just an expensive waste of time.
From the point of view of Brand South Africa – it is things like this that will unite us around a national identity to take to the world, and proudly shout from the rooftops.
*Interesting times is of course said to be the first in a series of Chinese curses.
It’s also the 17th book in the Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series.