Stable market value growth among Interbrand’s Best German Brands 2015 / Once again, Mercedes-Benz is number one in the brand ranking / TUI, Audi, Volkswagen and Bayer see high double-digit increases in value / Jägermeister, Dekra and Sixt are new to the top 50
BERLIN/COLOGNE, GERMANY (June 9, 2015) – Interbrand, the world’s leading brand consultancy, is publishing its second ranking of the 50 most valuable brands in Germany—Interbrand’s Best German Brands. The study provides insightful findings about the annual development of the strongest German-based brands, specific market trends, and the overall development of the German economy.
The total value of all brands in the top 50 was 171.977 billion euros, representing stable growth for these German companies over the previous year.
“German brand managers are doing a great job. The amount of value a brand brings to a company is steadily increasing,” explains Nina Oswald, Managing Director at Interbrand Germany. “Strategic investments in the brand are paying off. All climbers in the ranking had an outstanding year in terms of financial performance. This is especially true for the automobile industry, which is represented by the four brands leading this year’s ranking and are some of Germany’s most valuable.
The top ten German brands
Mercedes-Benz is still at the top of the Best German Brands list, with a brand value of 25.438 billion euros. Its timeless appeal, effective tagline, “The best or nothing”, and an expanded, modernized range of models have ensured Mercedes-Benz’s continued success, making it the most valuable brand in Germany. Like last year, BMW followed in second place at 25.195 billion euros. The Munich-based company was able to increase sales by a considerable 9.5 percent. The brand was also able to strengthen its position in the area of sustainable mobility with the innovative BMWi product line.
Volkswagen remained in fifth place, increasing its brand value by 14 percent to 10.161 billion euros. The company is on the path to becoming the world’s largest automobile manufacturer. This strong growth was largely driven by rapidly increasing sales in Asian markets as well as the enhanced emotional appeal of the brand at its most important touchpoints. Audi experienced the greatest increase in brand value, now valued 17 percent higher at 7.283 billion euros, and climbed two spots in the ranking to sixth place. Audi has been consistently successful with its very progressive brand strategy. The brand increased global sales by 6.1 percent over the previous year. In 2014, Audi was once again the top premium automaker in both Europe and China.
Ranked between the automotive brands was Deutsche Telekom, climbing to third place with a 5 percent increase in brand value—trading places with SAP, which slipped slightly from last year’s ranking. The other top 10 brands are BASF, Siemens, Bayer and Allianz. One noticeable trend is that the B2B brands in particular, BASF (up 8 percent) and Bayer (up 12 percent), were able to increase their brand values disproportionately higher than the others.
Major investments in the brand secure long-term competitive advantages for brands in highly competitive global markets. Such investments could include anything from introducing a new tagline (“We create chemistry”, BASF) to adopting a highly value-based branding approach or developing a new global employer brand (Bayer). “The major B2B brands have realized that their relevance goes far beyond their direct customer relationships. They address major topics in society today to reach consumers—offering platforms, initiatives, and programs to enhance their awareness, recognition, and relevance,” Nina Oswald explained.
Top risers and brands that lost ground
Beyond the top ten, one brand that made an impressive rise in the ranking was TUI. Its brand value increased much more than any other and, making the biggest jump in the ranking, it climbed six places to 24th. The world’s largest travel group has achieved a greater presence and is positioned to thrive over the long term.
Other brands saw losses this year. adidas, for example, is no longer part of the top 10 due to a decline in EBIT, very strong competition, and a lack of innovation. As a result, the brand lost 9 percent in value and is now in 11th place. The only other brand to lose more ground was Montblanc. Mediocre sales and extensive restructuring have cost the brand 11 percent of its value, and it dropped from 23rd to 26th place in the ranking.
German auto industry and retailers leading growth
Comparing the individual industries reveals a very clear picture. “The automobile industry makes up over 45 percent of the total value in the ranking. With an increase of 5.4 percent, it has further strengthened its position as the solid foundation of the German economy,” explained Nina Oswald when discussing the industry ranking. As the success of the auto industry illustrates, other industries in Germany could also benefit from long-term brand strategies. Other sectors, however, also saw increases, including brands in the areas of FMCG (5.5 percent), telecommunications (4.7 percent), and retail (3.8 percent).
With a total of 11 brands, German retailers were very well represented in the ranking of the 50 most valuable German brands. The main drivers of growth were Aldi and Lidl (each increasing over 10 percent). Both retail companies have expanded their brands to include a strong lifestyle aspect. Aldi announced extensive increases in organic products and launched the Aldi inspiriert (“Aldi Inspires”) customer magazine, while Lidl introduced a new corporate image campaign and methods of approaching customers.
New entrants and brands that left the ranking
The highest-ranking newcomer this year is Jägermeister, recognized for its strong performance, solid business forecast, and extremely authentic and distinctive brand experience. Jägermeister has a powerful online and social media presence, and consistently surprises the public with creative concepts like the special edition “city bottles.” The brand, known around the world for its hunter-green bottle and unique flavor, entered the ranking at 40th place with a brand value of 420 million euros.
Sixt (44th place) and Dekra (47th place) are the other new brands in this year’s ranking. Sixt has maintained a strong presence over the past several years as well as a very independent, consistent brand experience. Though it’s the fifth largest car rental company on the planet, the brand’s responsiveness is truly extraordinary, with communication adapted to reflect the day’s events—like the “Our employee of the month” campaign during the GDL strikes impacting the German railway system.
With its positioning as a neutral entity, Dekra is keeping its brand on track to further international expansion and growth: The Berlin-based vehicle inspection company is very consistent, serious about safety, authentic, progressive, and continuously developing its portfolio of products and services.
Summing up the results, Nina Oswald points out that “all three newcomers are from different industries,” and states that, “Good branding is not limited to any one industry—it’s really about strategy, regardless of the sector.”
Due to strong growth among individual brands, as well as entry of many newcomers to this year’s ranking, Tchibo and Saturn are no longer included in the top 50 list. Another brand to leave the ranking is Kabel Deutschland, following Vodafone’s announcement to take the brand off the market this year. Kabel Deutschland is currently in a period of transition.
Interbrand’s complete Best German Brands Report 2015, including not only the ranking but also articles, is available at www.bestgermanbrands.com