How valuable is your “brand”?

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Interbrand, an American consultancy group rates the world’s manufacturers each year by that rather nebulous entity called your “brand”. However, the ‘Best Global Brands’ report is based on three key components that contribute to a brand’s cumulative value. Interbrand describes these as “the financial performance of the branded products and services, the role the brand plays in influencing customer choice, and the strength the brand has to command a premium price or secure earnings for the company.”

Toyota.
Toyota.

Top auto manufacturer was, you guessed it, Toyota, but Mercedes is now second in the automotive section and within striking distance.

This year’s 17th annual ‘Best Global Brands’ report covering the top 100 brands worldwide saw Tesla make the list for the first time – it has taken the 100th position, or 15th among the auto-makers, with an estimated brand value of US$4.0 billion – while Nissan has emerged as the top-growing automotive brand with a 22 percent increase in brand value over last year (to US$11.1b), which places it in ninth position among the auto brands or 43rd overall.

Toyota’s nine percent increase in brand value to US$53.6b has deposed IBM for fifth place overall – leaving Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Google and, at the top of the pile, Apple, as the only brands ahead of it – but since last year Mercedes-Benz has leapfrogged BMW for second place in the automotive rankings (and ninth overall) with a US$43.5b brand value, up 18 percent on the previous year.

BMW’s brand value of US$41.5b has risen 12 percent to hold third position (11th overall), while Honda, in fourth, is well behind after a four percent slip in brand value to US$22.1b that sends it outside the top 20 brands overall (to 21st).

Unsurprisingly, the only other automaker to experience a drop in brand value this year was Volkswagen, which up until 2014 was on a fast track toward the top end of the table but has now gone backwards with two successive downturns of nine percent, losing US$2.3b in brand value over 24 months to US$11.4b and in process falling three positions in automotive (to eighth) and nine spots overall (to 40th).

Tesla’s entry in the top 100 global brands reflects more than just its EV luxury models but the services it offers as well, according to Interbrand.

VW’s diesel emissions cheating scandal engulfing Volkswagen worldwide has clearly served against it in the latest study, although fellow VW Group brand Audi has managed to avoid the crisis, according to Interbrand, increasing its brand value 14 percent to US$11.8b and moves ahead of VW in seventh place among the automotive cohort and 38th overall.

Ford and Hyundai have likewise moved ahead of VW and maintain their edge over Audi for the time being, with the Ford up 12 percent this year to US$13.0b for fifth position among the autos (33rd overall) and Hyundai, the leading Korean brand, up 11 percent to US$12.5b to be right behind it sixth (35th overall).

The last auto manufacturer in the top 50 was Porsche, up 18 percent this year to US$9.5b in brand value for that 50th position – while four others (apart from Tesla) remain in the list of top 100 brands: Kia at US$6.3b (+12 percent, 69th position overall), Land Rover at US$5.7b (+11 percent, 78th), and Mini at US$5.0b (+18 percent, 88th).

“One of the most profound shifts we’re seeing is that car companies are moving from a brand selling products to a brand providing services – shifting from OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) to experience-centric brands,” said Daniel Binns, managing director of Interbrand’s New York and San Francisco offices.

According to Interbrand, the combined value of the top 100 brands this year was US$1.8 trillion, up 4.8 percent on 2015.