Cars dominate with BMW heading a procession of five global auto brands
SAP leads the first BrandZTM Top 50 Most Valuable German Brands ranking released today by WPP and Kantar Millward Brown, with Deutsche Telekom taking the second spot, highlighting the role that technology and engineering plays in many of the country’s biggest brands.
SAP topped the ranking with a Brand Value of $48.9bn USD, followed by Deutsche Telekom at $39.2bn. Car brands BMW and Mercedes-Benz took the third and fourth spots at $24.6bn and $23.6bn respectively, with the final spot in the Top 5 taken by logistics giant DHL at $18.3bn.
The ranking underlines the role of Germany as the economic engine of Europe, keeping the region on the right road in times of uncertainty. Not only is it home to many of Europe’s most valuable brands, but strong consumer demand for brands they can relate to, rather than just reliable products and services, has helped create brands with a strong sense of purpose.
Despite this strength, some German brands struggle to be perceived as innovative by consumers. Adidas, however, bucks this perception and is Germany’s most innovative brand – indexing 123 (where 100 is the average brand) with a total Brand Value of $11.8bn.
The total Brand Value of the German Top 50 brands is $305.7bn – significantly ahead of the latest UK and French BrandZ brand rankings, with the UK more than $70bn behind and France lagging by more than $60bn. Car brands such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Porsche and Volkswagen took the largest share of total Brand Value with a category value of $66.6bn, followed by Technology at $48.9bn and Telecom Providers at $41.9bn.
The ranking underlines the breadth of the German economy, with brands from 19 categories, many demonstrating a powerful sense of purpose in response to consumer demands for brands that make a contribution to making people’s lives better beyond profit. German brands score very highly for Brand Purpose, indexing on average 115 for the Top 50, where the average brand is 100, ahead of the global average and behind only the US.
If the German brand ranking displays any weaknesses, it is in perceptions of innovation among consumers. Although German brands are seen as enduring and reliable, the role of innovation at a time of global business disruption is less apparent to consumers. This challenge has been recognised by the Government, highlighting the success of businesses that have adapted to both changing technological opportunities and the changing demands of consumers. There are signs that brands are taking this on board with this year’s number one SAP actively taking steps to embrace a culture of innovation throughout the entire company.
David Roth, CEO EMEA and Asia, The Store WPP, commented: “Germany is the juggernaut at the heart of the European economy and its brands are part of consumers’ lives all around the world. The Government’s active encouragement of innovation led by Chancellor Angela Merkel and it’s recognition that this is a chance to build a new relationship with consumers is welcome as this is one area where even Germany’s biggest brands are vulnerable to global disruptive rivals.”
“Germany’s largest brands are performing impressively and this Top 50 Brand ranking is one many countries will envy. However, simply being reliable is no longer enough and brands must turbo-charge their innovation efforts and improve their ability to communicate their innovations. Many of Germany’s biggest brands are heeding the warning, but in a global market every single brand needs to take this on board,” says Bernd Buechner, Managing Director Germany at Kantar Millward Brown.
The BrandZ Germany Top 50 report also includes new research from Y&R’s BAV Group in partnership with U.S. News & World Report and the Wharton School, which examines what it takes to build powerful nation brands. According to BAV Group’s 2018 Best Countries report, Germany ranks third overall out of 80 countries, excelling in economic, political, and social perceptions. The country’s powerful performance on entrepreneurship, strong job market, skilled labour force, and educated population generate a positive brand halo for Germany.
Key trends highlighted in the BrandZ Germany Top 50 study include:
• Belief in the future – German consumers are looking for a future they can believe in and a partnership with companies they feel are listening to them and that share their views. This requires brands to have something to say that goes beyond what’s good about what they’ve made. They need to be relevant to consumers, enriching people’s lives, even in small ways. Successful German brands are telling stories that resonate with people’s lives, delivering on the increasingly complex relationship that consumers expect brands to play in their lives.
• Trust earns recommendation – Some of the most trusted brands in Germany are also the most highly recommended by consumers, which matters enormously given the high usage of social media. Trust often takes many years to earn, and some of the most trusted German brands have indeed been around for decades – names like Lufthansa, HiPP, DHL, Adidas and Miele. These trusted brands feature among the most likely brands to be loved and recommended.
• Time to stand out from the crowd – Tracking of leading German brands shows
they are consistently good at achieving visibility among consumers and coming to mind when people think of a category. However, meaningful difference, a measure of brand equity and an ingredient in what makes strong brands valuable, has not grown at the same pace. This leaves the door open for new brands to win share by simply standing apart from the status quo.