• Transform magazine
  • June 02, 2020


FutureBrand Index examines brands that stand the test of time


Achieving timelessness is a challenge for people and brands alike. Targeting well-informed and ethically-driven Millennials, a sense of purpose along with a unique brand experience are two key factors in determining the lifespan of a corporate brand, as shown in a perception study of the world’s biggest companies, the Futurebrand Index for 2018.

Futurebrand’s index ranks the 100 biggest companies in the world in terms of market capitalisation. Interviewing around 3,000 senior business figures worldwide, the index examines each brand’s chance for future success, its ‘futureproof factor,’ and how brand positioning can contribute to that.

The ranking shows that purpose-driven brands, with a clear and ethical positioning, are more likely to survive in the industry, with brands having a novel objective, such as research-based biopharmaceutical companies focused on the discovery, development, and commercialisation of innovative medicines Gilead Sciences and AbbVie Inc, managing to climb to the top five.

On the contrary, the bottom of the rank is occupied by companies that are infamous for their lack of purpose, environmental footprint and ethically ambiguous brand strategies, such as British American Tobacco, Exxon Mobil and Philip Morris.

Nick Sykes, international president of FutureBrand, says, “Comparing this year’s results to previous versions of the Index shows there’s no room for complacency. If brands lose their focus on the balance of attributes they need for future success, they quickly fall down the rankings.”

The rank for both the list of international companies that succeed today and those best positioned to succeed in the future is dominated by US firms, with 54 US companies in the top 100, 13 in the top 25, and the top spot being claimed by Walt Disney Company.

Despite US firms leading the way, the FutureBrand list features more Chinese firms than ever before – with six named as futureproof companies – including second placed spirits brand Kweichow Moutai.

The results were derived from interviews that took place around the world where around 3,000 men and women between the age of 21 and 75 were interviewed. All the participants were either senior business figures or civil servants, skilled professionals or small business owners.

Six traits are split between the categories of purpose and experience, including trust, emotional connections, innovation and indispensability. When examined, these traits create a ranking, where the top sees brands that most people want to work for, buy from or invest.

The top five companies in the 2018 FutureBrand Index are:

  • The Walt Disney Company
  • Kweichow Moutai Co
  • Gilead Sciences
  • Apple Inc
  • AbbVie Inc

The bottom five are:

  • Goldman Sachs Group
  • Bank of China
  • British American Tobacco
  • Exxon Mobil
  • Philip Morris

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