Interbrand just released their annual list of the most valuable brands in the world. What determines value? Three things:
- The financial performance of the branded product and service
- The role the brand plays in influencing customer choice
- The strength the brand has to command a premium price or secure earnings for the company
Without looking at the chart, I bet you can guess who came out on top.
Just looking at the top ten (the list goes to 100), a couple of things jump out.
First, there hasn’t been much change over the past year. The top six companies have maintained their rank even though one, IBM, went down 8% in value.
From six to ten, it’s mostly a reshuffling of the same names, except for Mercedes-Benz which made it into the top ten this year knocking out Intel. That company dropped from 9th to 12th.
Also note that 4 of the top 10 are technology companies. I’d actually call it 5 and include IBM. Of the top 100, 13 are technology companies with a collective worth of USD $493.2 billion.
Facebook, Apple and Google were also the fastest growing brands for 2014. Facebook came in at number 29 – which is hard to believe, but that’s up from 52nd place the year before.
Moving from numbers to ideas: Interbrand says that to succeed in 2015, companies have to embrace the Age of You. We’re talking customization and personalization, humanizing the data so we respond to a customer’s actual needs and wants. In the 50’s, you could sell a car based on the fact that everyone else in the neighborhood had the same car and you don’t want to be the odd man out. Conformity was a reason to buy. Try to sell conformity today and you’ll be standing in the unemployment line tomorrow.
Today’s car commercials talk about personal playlists and GPS’s that remember your favorite routes. There are self-parking cars for those of us who can’t judge distance and back up cameras for people who like cars that are the size of a small bus. Something for everyone with exactly the features you need to fit into your lifestyle, not your neighbor’s.
The Age of You means being available in every possible way; mobile phone, tablet, email, instant messaging, Twitter, Facebook. You can’t push all of your customers down the same sales funnel and expect it to work. There are people who won’t buy if they have to wait for delivery. There are those who will buy because they can get it online and pick it up at the store tomorrow.
The saying “the customer is always right” will take on new meaning in 2015. These top ten brands know it and you have to know it, too. If you want to end up on top, you have no choice but to get personal.