Cisco and Huawei inch up the Interbrand top 100

Brand consultancy Interbrand has published its latest ranking of the world’s strongest brands and given Cisco and Huawei minor promotions.

In last year’s assessment Cisco had the 16th most valuable brand, while Huawei came in at number 70. In the intervening 12 months Cisco’s brand value has increased by 8% to $34.5 billion, taking it to 15th place ahead of a waning GE. Meanwhile Huawei’s brand has apparently become 14% more valuable and now contributes $7.5 billion to its success.

Huawei was so happy about this that it issued a press release. “In the next industry cycle, technologies like AI, 5G, IoT, and cloud computing will become more and more important,” said Zhang Hongxi, Huawei’s Corporate Marketing President. “Huawei delivers more value and creates a better experience for customers by integrating AI, smart devices, networks, and the cloud.” Cisco didn’t bother.

Measuring brand value must be a tricky business since brand an inherently emotive, instinctive concept. A summary of Interbrand’s methodology can be seen below. It combines financial data, which is easy to measure, with an index that claims to measure the portion of purchasing decisions attributable directly to brand and another that attempts to quantify brand loyalty.

Interbrand methodology

In essence it seems to get the raw financial data and then tweak them up or down according to how Interbrand perceives the value of the respective brands. The resulting ranking seems to correlate much more closely with market value than it does revenues or even profitability, which stands to reason since share price is heavily influenced by investor belief in the company’s ongoing performance and growth.

Once more there’s no sign of Nokia or Ericsson on the list, which makes you wonder how much of Huawei’s brand value is derived from its consumer devices business. Apple has been at the top of the list since it launched the iPhone and Google is consistently second. Amazon’s brand value has apparently increased by 56% since last year, allowing it to overtake Microsoft and Coca Cola for third place. There are no operator brands in the top 100 despite Verizon and AT&T making vast profits.

Tech dominates Interbrand global rankings

Interbrand has released its rankings of the most valuable brands in the world, and the technology sector has a lot to boast about, occupying six of the top ten spots.

Every now and then we just need a reminder of how important technology is for today’s society. In previous generations you might have seen names such as Ferrari or Coca Cola or American Express at the top of the list, but now it is the playground of the technology companies. We already knew tech was at the top, but it is nice to get validation occasionally.

Apple hits number one spot, with a brand value of just over $184.1 billion, while Google sits in second with $141.7 billion and Microsoft in third with just under $80 million. Amazon, Samsung, Facebook and IBM complete the rest of tech in the top ten. In terms of best performers, Facebook and Amazon are two to keep an eye on, with brand values growing 48% and 29% respectively.

“We are living in one of the most exciting periods of change – societal, technological, industrial – that impacts every aspect of commerce and life,” said Jez Frampton, CEO of Interbrand. “In this ever-shifting context, growth becomes more challenging, which is why businesses need brands more than ever. The Best Global Brands understand that brands are the platform for growth.”

In terms of how the value of the brands are worked out, Interbrand takes three things into account. Firstly, financial performance of the branded products and services. Secondly, the role the brand plays in influencing customer choice. And finally, the strength the brand has to command a premium price or secure earnings for the company. If you want to check out the full list you can here, but we’ve pulled out a couple of highlights for you.

In the battle of the network infrastructure giants, these rankings are further evidence Huawei is in a lead of its own. The market leader hits the table in 70th position, with a brand value at just over $6.6 billion, while Ericsson, Nokia and ZTE are nowhere to be seen. Some might argue this is mainly due to the influence of consumer behaviour in the methodology, but there are quite a few B2B brands which sit higher up. Cisco sits at 16th, SAP at 21st and Accenture at 37th.

Another interesting development is the growth in the brand value. If you note down the biggest movers and shakers in the list, the majority of them have something to do with the connected economy. Facebook, Amazon and Adobe are the three biggest movers, but also at the top of the list you have Huawei (network infrastructure), PayPal and MasterCard (Digital Payments), Mercedes Benz (autonomous vehicles), Microsoft (cloud) and 3M (IoT). There are of course brands which have more tenuous links and some which don’t have any at all, but it is another nice bit of validation.

So technology rules the roost. Yay us!