- Apple was ranked No. 1 in the latest BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable US Brands list by WPP and Kantar Millward Brown, whose results were shared with Marketing Dive. The creator of products like the iPhone's brand value increased 13% in the last year to $316.1 billion, with its ongoing innovation across a variety of services, such as Apple Pay, iCloud and Siri, helping to provide meaningful experiences for consumers.
- The top 10-ranked brands also include Google at No. 2, followed, in descending order, by Amazon, Microsoft, Visa, Facebook, McDonald's, AT&T, IBM and Mastercard. Overall, the top 100 brands grew 15% collectively over the last year to reach a $3.65 trillion value, accounting for 19.6% of U.S. GDP. Uber was the most-valuable newcomer on the BrandZ list at No. 35 with a value of $21.1 billion. The ride-hailing service offers the best brand experience, according to surveyed U.S. consumers, who scored it higher than Amazon and Apple. Uber was also listed as one of the most innovative brands, leading Amazon and Tesla.
- A key takeaway from the rankings is that customer experience is becoming just as important for brands as being perceived as being innovative. The brands that continue to innovate customer experience are winning out, growing 200% more than those that aren't prioritizing customer experience, WPP and Kantar Millward Brown found.
WPP and Kantar Millward Brown's latest brand value rankings carry some of the usual suspects, including tech heavy hitters that have come to dominate such lists in recent years, like Apple, Amazon and Facebook. However, the findings that customer experience matches innovation in importance to consumers show how delivering relevant, personalized interactions across touch points is becoming tantamount for success. It's also an area where many businesses continue to come up short
U.S. brands remain "mediocre" in regards to the of their quality customer experiences, according to Forrester's U.S. 2018 Customer Experience Index released this summer. In its analysis, Forrester found that no brand has risen to the top of its ranking or continued to improve over prior performance. Other firms, such as Accenture, have found things like marketing personalization have also gotten worse this year.
As many marketers will likely re-evaluate their marketing technology in 2019 to improve customer experience, the BrandZ rankings highlight several examples of companies that have seen success. Netflix grew its value more than any other brand at 93% over the past year, reaching $30.2 billion. The company has benefited from the broader adoption of video streaming and is winning over consumers by personalizing its service with original and entertaining content. Netflix has grown its subscribers to 137 million, which put it at No. 28 on the BrandZ list and the second most-valuable entertainment brand after Disney.
The BrandZ report also noted that "meaningfully different" brands grew their value 78% more in the past year. The fastest risers, including Netflix, PayPal, Amazon and Instagram, are being driven by their differentiation, as are newcomers on the list Uber and HBO.
Brands with a purpose are also attracting consumers by sharing their political and social values, which is, in turn, driving up their value. Nike, for example, featured controversial celebrities known for taking a stand, including Serena Williams and Colin Kaepernick, in its marketing. The strategy helped Nike build strong emotional connections and gain 37% in value, moving its spot up the list to No. 18.