MASTERCLASSING

Amazon named BrandZ’s most valuable brand in the world

Alyssa Clementi

eCommerce giant Amazon is the most valuable brand in the world, followed by Apple and Google, according to the 2019 BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands rankings announced today at the New York Stock Exchange. The report, released by WPP and Kantar, attributed Amazon’s accelerated growth over the past year to the company’s “smart acquisitions”, which led to more revenue, improved customer service, and a broader array of available products and services.

Amazon experienced a 52 per cent year-on-year increase in brand value, hitting $315.5bn, compared to Apple’s $309.5bn. Google almost tied for second place with Apple, reaching $309bn in brand value, followed by Microsoft in fourth place at $251.2bn.

“Amazon’s phenomenal brand value growth of almost $108bn in the last year demonstrates how brands are now less anchored to individual categories and regions. The boundaries are blurring as technology fluency allow brands, such as Amazon, Google and Alibaba, to offer a range of services across multiple consumer touchpoints. Using their consumer experience and expertise, these brands are crossing over into the business services sector, creating new opportunities for brand growth. Disruptive ecosystem models are flourishing in regions such as Asia, where consumers are more technology-enabled and where brands are integrating themselves into every aspect of people’s daily lives,” said Doreen Wang, Kantar’s global head of BrandZ.

According to the report, key trends that made a significant impact on the rankings this year included luxury becoming the fastest growing category, while technology, finance and retail all remained dominate categories. There were nine new brands that broke into the Top 100, and a slew of Asian brands appeared in the rankings for the first time as well. More sustainable brands made their presence known, which may have to do with Millennials and Gen Z taking sustainability more seriously than previous generations. Lastly, the China and US trade wars slowed growth in brand value of the Top 100 brands over the last year.

“Following Amazon’s exponential growth over the last decade, it’s unsurprising that the eCommerce giant has been named the most valuable brand in the world. While this news is interesting, brand recognition is of little interest to Amazon; its prime focus is commercial strength and profit. In fact, our own research says that brand is only the third most important factor online. So, unless this ranking makes Amazon more money, it’s unlikely to be heralded as anything other than the bi-product of great service by the Seattle HQ,” commented Hugh Fletcher, global head of consultancy and innovation, Wunderman Thompson Commerce.

Fletcher continued, “Amazon’s success is characterized by what I would call its ‘aggressive horizontality’ approach, meaning the business no longer relies solely on its traditional online retailing model. The company has cleverly expanded into different industries such as entertainment, physical retail, grocery and more recently pop-ups, which has allowed it to stay ahead of its rivals. It is likely to continue to consolidate its position; our research found that it attracted 35 per cent of online spend in the UK, and 52 per cent in the US – so there is still room for improvement.”

“Ultimately, Amazon is likely unfazed by its new position as the world’s most valuable company; its dedication to continually innovate and build new infrastructure will see the company maintain its high value and continue to stay ahead of its competitors in the retail space,” concluded Fletcher.