Brand Finance, an international brand valuation and strategy consultancy, announces its annual Brand Finance Top 500 U.S. Brands 2015. Brand Finance conducts a comprehensive analysis of over 2,000 U.S. brands, from B2B to B2C, in 16 sectors and over 100 subsectors, including insurance, oil and gas, IT services, telecom, apparel, airlines, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics to establish how much each brand is worth. The top 500 most valuable brands claim membership in the "Billion Dollars Brands Club."
"Eighty percent of the S&P 500's value comes from intangibles, a trend sustained for more than two decades," Managing Director of Brand Finance North America, Edgar Baum said. "Purchasing decisions, whether corporate or consumer, are increasingly driven by the brand name behind the product or service. Perceptions and behavior toward a brand are worth more today than most physical assets. Brand Finance's 'Billion Dollar Brands Club' represents over $2.5 trillion in brand value. Companies that ignore brand investment are putting their business at risk."
Apple continues to be the only brand valued at over $100 billion. It has been crowned the world's most valuable brand for four consecutive years. Apple's $128 billion brand value is more than all American media brands in the top 500 combined.
Overview for 2015
- Each of America’s top 500 brands continue to be worth in excess of $1 billion.
- The number of billion dollar brands has declined from 519 in 2014 to 505 in 2015.
- The total brand value of America’s top 500 brands is $2.6 trillion, up 3 percent from 2014.
- 25 percent of the AAA+ global brands are based in the U.S. (Coca-Cola, Nike, McKinsey and Johnson’s by J&J).
- More than half of all global AAA+, AAA and AAA- brands originate in the U.S.
- 258 U.S. brands increased in brand value.
- The top 10 U.S. brands are worth nearly $613 billion.
- Notable additions to the Billion Dollar Brand Club, as a result of updated reporting details, include Deloitte, TCS, Booking.com and Universal Music Group.
Tech continues to be the most valuable sector in the Brand Finance U.S. 500, making up 22 percent of the total, more than the next two highest sectors, retail and telecom, combined. The 52 tech brands collectively generate over $574 billion of brand value.
- A large percentage of this value is generated in California, predominantly Silicon Valley:
- Apple (1st in the US), Google (2nd), Intel (15th), Facebook (18th), Oracle (21st), HP (30th), eBay (38th), Twitter (114th), Salesforce (162nd) and LinkedIn (174th).
- Tech brands based outside California include Washington’s Microsoft (3rd) and Amazon (6th), Connecticut’s Priceline.com (141st) and Xerox (149th), New York’s IBM (10th), and Dell (62nd) from Texas.
- Twitter ($4.3 billion/114th) and Facebook ($24 billion/18th) are the biggest tech winners, increasing their brand values by 185 percent and146 percent respectively. These brands have evolved from operating under a brand to becoming the category name. Both brands define the criteria of their respective offerings against which all competition measure themselves.
- However, the success of technology brands, especially Booking.com, Priceline.com and Tripadvisor.com, collectively worth $11 billion, comes at the expense of traditional hospitality brands. Brands such as Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt have all declined year after year. Web-based and app-based brands are worth more than the traditional bricks and mortar companies they service.
The Fast Food Migration
- This year there was a demonstrable, attitudinal shift toward healthy eating in the U.S. Food education and an interest in fresh, locally-sourced products have the traditional heavy weights suffering.
- Chipotle (+124 percent), which was partially owned by McDonald’s at one point, has put more pressure on McDonald’s (-15 percent).
- Furthermore, Subway (+41 percent) is a continued beneficiary of the healthy eating trend.
- Burger King has disclosed sufficient financial performance to be valued, entering the U.S. 500 at a brand value of $1.1 billion. Other fast casual brands were too small to meet the $1 billion valuation requirements of the U.S. 500.
On the Billion Dollar Borderline
- Notable brands toward the bottom of the Brand Finance U.S. 500 include:
- Trident (500th), Footlocker (499th), Whiting Petroleum (487th), Broadcom (474th), Banana Republic (464th) and Grey Goose (447th).
- Four brands miss the cut for the Brand Finance U.S. 500 but are nonetheless valuable enough to enter the Billion Dollar Brands Club: Arrow Electronics, Towers Watson & Co, Concho Resources and Unum.
- Brands that just miss the billion-dollar mark but could be poised to join the club next year include United Natural ($990 million), Corning ($988 million), Always ($988 million), Columbia ($983 million) and Continental Resources ($971 million).
The State of State-by-State
California and New York Continue to Dominate the “Brandscape”
- 66 brands (up by 5 brands) totalling $566 billion (22 percent of the Brand Finance U.S. 500).
- Increased brand value by 17 percent.
- Apple and Google represent 36 percent of California’s total brand value with the top 10 brands representing 71 percent of California’s total brand value.
- Tesla, valued at $2.6 billion, up 122 percent from 2014, demonstrates the tech influence in automotive sector versus traditional auto makers as Tesla is now worth more than the GM (the parent company) brand value at $2.3 billion, down 53 percent from 2014 and Lincoln, valued at $1.3 billion, down 47 percent from 2014.
- New York:
- 65 brands (down by 10 brands) totalling $455 billion (18 percent of the Brand Finance U.S. 500).
- Increased brand value by 8 percent.
- The top 10 brands represent over 50 percent of New York’s total brand value.
- State Observations:
- The top 7 States in the U.S. 500 represent almost 70 percent of the U.S.'s brand value.
- Maryland moved from number 25 to number 20, switching places with New England, and also experienced the 2nd highest brand value increase, by state (+82 percent).
- Oklahoma had the only triple digit growth in brand value (+154 percent) with the addition of OKE to the list.
- Kansas had the 3rd best brand value increase (+35 percent).
- Vermont dropped four places to number 36 and experienced the largest decline in brand value (-54 percent), followed by New England (-44 percent) and Virginia (-25 percent).
- 11 states do not have brands valuable enough to make the top 500, including Mississippi, South Carolina and Utah.
- Texas continues as the 3rd biggest state by Brand Value; its success founded on big oil brands.
- 74 percent of Washington’s brand value comes from Microsoft and Amazon.
- Washington is the 4th biggest state by brand value despite having only 10 brands in the U.S. 500, including Starbucks ($11 billion), Costco ($10.6 billion) and Xbox. ($6.8 billion).
- 73 percent of Georgia’s brand value comes from Coca Cola, Home Depot and UPS and the top 10 brands represent 96 percent of all of Georgia’s brand value.
- 44 percent of North Carolina’s brand value comes from Bank of America and the top 10 brands represent 98 percent of all North Carolina’s brand value.
- 42 percent of Connecticut’s brand value comes from General Electric.
- Illinois has a well-balanced range of brands, with no one sector dominating. It’s home to McDonald’s ($22 billion), Walgreens ($16 billion), Boeing ($15 billion), Accenture ($11 billion), Wrigley’s ($6 billion), John Deere ($4 billion) and Kraft ($4 billion).
“Most corporate balance sheets do not reflect the value of the brands they managed,” Baum said. “Maybe it is time brand accountability is shared and measured throughout an organization the same way financial accountability is, providing better value to stakeholders inside and outside the organization.”
Summary of Brand Finance’s Methodology
Brand Finance uses an integrated methodology with the Royalty Relief Method recommended by GIFT (Global Intangible Finance Tracker). This method calculates brand value by determining the royalties a corporation would have to pay to license its brand if it did not own it. As well as a brand value, each of the 500 brands in the table is accorded a brand rating: a benchmark of the strength, risk and potential of a brand relative to its competitors, expressed as a letter code from AAA+ to D, similar to a credit rating but much more difficult to attain.
Every company registered in the U.S., or with over 50 percent of its revenue generated in the U.S., is considered in our ranking, so we can provide the most complete assessment of American brands.
About Brand Finance
Brand Finance is an international brand valuation consultancy, with offices in over 15 countries. We provide clarity to marketers, brand owners and investors by quantifying the financial value of brands. Drawing on expertise in strategy, branding, market research, visual identity, finance, tax and intellectual property, Brand Finance helps clients establish the benchmark values for their brands and helps them make the right decisions to maximize brand and business value. Brand Finance is a PFC registered accountancy specializing in intangible assets providing ISO, IVSC and IASB compliant valuation and analytics services.
Brand Finance North America is headquartered in New York and Toronto with representation in Calgary, San Francisco and Vancouver.
Brand Finance plc is headquartered in London and has a network of international offices in Amsterdam, Bangalore, Barcelona, Cape Town, Colombo, Dubai, Durban, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Lisbon, Madrid, Moscow, Nairobi, New York, Sao Paolo, Seoul, Singapore, Sydney, Toronto and Zagreb.
Brand Finance was one of the first companies in the world to be accredited to provide ISO 10668 compliant brand valuations. The ISO 10668 global standard provides a consistent, reliable approach to brand valuation that emphasizes transparency and objectivity. Valuers must take all relevant financial, behavioral and legal information into consideration. Brand Finance would like to thank its partners: The Banker, Havas, BAV Consulting, Alexa, Bloomberg, Meltwater, VI360, CSRHub, ktMINE and Novagraaf for the information they have provided to make our valuations of the Brand Finance U.S. 500 consistent with ISO 10668 guidelines, using publicly available information.
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