World Brand Lab Releases 'World's 500 Most Influential Brands 2021'

Google, Amazon, and Microsoft claim the top three slots. The US has the most representation, followed by France, Japan, China, and the UK.

Figure 1: Top 10 of World's 500 Most Influential Brands 2021

The 18th edition of the World's 500 Most Influential Brands list, compiled by World Brand Lab, was released on Dec. 7, 2021, in New York. With its excellent market performance and strong business growth, Google tops the list, defeating Amazon, which fell to second place due to its lower-than-expected results during the pandemic. Microsoft retained its place in third.

The World's 500 Most Influential Brands list, which has been published annually for the past 18 years, is judged based on brands' global influence. World Brand Lab tracks three key indicators of brand influence—market share, brand loyalty, and global leadership—for more than 15,000 leading brands around the globe and uses this data to develop the list. In addition to new energy vehicle brands (such as Tesla) that are getting a lot of attention, there are a number of Chinese brands on the rise, including State Grid, Haier, China Life, Wuliangye, Tsingtao Beer, Sinochem, China Southern Power Grid, Hengli, XCMG, and Beidahuang.

The 2021 World's 500 Most Influential Brands list includes brands from 31 countries. The U.S. topped the list, at 198, retaining its position as a global brand superpower. France, Japan, China, and the U.K. boast 48, 46, 44, and 37 brands on the list, respectively, while Germany, Switzerland, and Italy make up the third tier of brand powerhouses. Due to the dual impact of the pandemic and geopolitics, multinational brands around the world are facing a crisis of trust and reputation.

The 2021 World's 500 Most Influential Brands list spans 47 industries. The automobile industry led the pack with a total of 37 brands listed, followed by the food and beverage industry with 34 brands listed. The pandemic has made information dissemination even more important. There are 28 media industry brands on the list, which is the same as last year. The energy industry ranks in 4th place.

Twenty-six brands are new to the list this year. The highest-ranked brand is China Resources, in 70th place. China Resources includes several well-known subsidiaries (such as Snow Beer). Other newly listed brands from China include AIA Group, Xiaomi, Shenghong, and ITG. Notable brands from other nations, including KEPCO and Meiji, were also listed. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, brands in the retail, travel, and aviation sectors were among the year's biggest losers. United Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Softbank all fell sharply in the rankings.

The average age of the listed brands is 97.65 years. The list includes 218 time-honored brands that are more than a century old, with 40% of these (79 brands) hailing from the U.S. The French brand Saint-Gobain remains the oldest brand on the list at 356 years old, while Aviva and Moutai also have more than 300-year histories. Among the 44 Chinese brands on the list, only Moutai, Tsingtao Brewery, Wuliangye, Bank of China, and AIA have been in business for more than 100 years.

A joint team from World Brand Lab and Superfinance identified an increasing correlation between brand value and ESG performance. Rupert Younger, director of Oxford University's Centre for Corporate Reputation, who will attend the World Executive Summit on December 15, noted, "Business leaders have three key strategic levers that they can use to generate positive reputation capital. They can act in ways that send the right signals, they can elect to associate themselves with firms of high status and reputation, and they can actively manage their narrative strategies to cut through in an age of information overload. But within this trio of actions, it is the behavioral signals that seem to matter most, and ESG strategy is the basis for these signals." Pierre Chandon, Professor of Marketing at INSEAD, who will also be attending the Summit, stated, "In the face of a dynamic world, multinational brands have to both promise customer benefits in an effective way and navigate the increasingly difficult geopolitical tensions between countries."

Haisen Ding, the CEO of the World Executive Group and Co-Founder of the World Brand Lab, stressed his belief that brands need to be accountable not only to consumers but also to stakeholders. The pandemic has accelerated a shift in consumer values, with brands expected to both provide value and take a stand on ESG issues. Stephen Woolgar, the Chairman of the Academic Committee of World Brand Lab, said that global brands must shift their value frameworks to meet consumer goals and adapt their marketing to align with the "Brand for Good" principle.

Since 2003, World Brand Lab has tracked more than 80,000 major brands in 60 countries. This leading brand consulting, research, and evaluation firm, which was co-founded and first chaired by the late Professor Robert Mundell, the 1999 Nobel laureate in Economics, is wholly owned by World Executive Group. In addition to preparing the World's 500 Most Influential Brands list, World Brand Lab is dedicated to brand valuation, strategy, naming, design, and protection. World Brand Lab research results have become a key reference for intangible asset evaluation in the M&A process of hundreds of listed companies.

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Source: World Brand Lab

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