• Transform magazine
  • December 13, 2017

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Interbrand launches Best Global Brands 2017 report

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‘Brands are the constancy that accelerate business growth.’ So begins the annual report produced by international brand consultancy Interbrand, detailing the Best Global Brands 2017. In a business climate characterised by political, economic and social instability, brands remain a constant relied upon internally and externally, by consumers and businesspeople alike.

Purpose behind brands, and how their strategies contribute effectively to continued strength and growth, characterises the Interbrand Best Global Brands report 2017 and sets it apart from previous iterations.

Following on from ‘The Age of You,’ delivered by Interbrand in 2015, the Best Global Brands 2017 report details how customer centricity remains at the top of the brand agenda. Using analytics and measurement is important; it drives insight into the psychology behind customer decision making and allows brands to plan for the future based on facts. Evident in the top ten brands in Interbrand’s report, which includes tech behemoths Apple and Microsoft, customer-driven platforms Amazon and Facebook, and enduring car brands Mercedes-Benz and Toyota, is a continual effort to innovate and recognise changing customer needs.

However, Interbrand goes beyond this, arguing that empathy is the core element behind effective analytics. “Authentic interactions will build trust in the brand,” says Interbrand. “People can tell when they’re being listened to and when they’re not.”

“Empathy requires thinking about how the interaction will ultimately benefit the individuals you’re talking to. It’s this deeper understanding that drives relevance to real people – not just ‘customer segments’ – which comes through in the brand’s experiences.” This leads to mutual experiences and a sense of brand loyalty, beneficial both for employees and customer. Strong relationships lead to stronger business performance, which explains the presence of experience-focused brands such as Disney, Nescafe, Visa, Netflix and Ferrari in the global brand 100.

To espouse the benefit of authentic relationships is not, however, to negate the importance of data. Well-maintained databases can provide a wealth of important information related to brand markets and communications, allowing the implementation of processes which enhance brand-customer relationships. However, for this to succeed, strong analytic systems must be enforced with statistical systems that work at the point of use. “Businesses today have an overwhelming amount of data available to them, but data analysis often occurs in the rear-view mirror,” says Interbrand.

“To grow, companies need to move to a more predictive model of brand analysis. Amid constant change, they need to measure the accelerating what matters data attributes indicative of what will truly drive business impact. It’s the only way to move at the speed required to be ahead of the competition.”

The top ten brands in Interbrand’s index holding 42% of the Best Global Brands total value, giving some indication of company power if all the ‘essential’ boxes are ticked – customer-centricity, technologically enabled and a willingness to be flexible. Notice must be given to the 16 brands which achieved double-digit growth over the 2017 measurement period, which include Adobe, Starbucks and Paypal. The rise of Huawei, included in this growth, is indicative of the increasing penetration of Chinese brands in a traditionally western culture-dominated market; hallmarks of the ‘challenger’ brands, as noted by Interbrand, are disregarding age, branding ‘for the people,’ and retaining a clear focus on the end goal.

As Interbrand says, “The only constant is change.” Living through a period as turbulent as the Industrial Revolution means societal, attitudinal, technological, economic and industrial change is impacting and influencing all aspects of commerce and life. “Within this ever-shifting context, growth becomes ever more challenging,” says Interbrand. “Businesses need a medium that clearly communicates purpose and energises cultures, a platform upon which to create engaging and unique experiences, a means to stay relevant, meaningful, and valued. In this changing world, businesses need brands more than ever.”

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Interbrand's top 100 global brands 2017