Interbrand Thinking
Gonzalo Brujó
Global Chief Executive Officer

Welcome to Best Global Brands 2022

There’s little denying, we are living through a renaissance, a period in time when our understanding of the world shifts.
Change is perpetual; it’s the modus operandi in which we must build and manage brands today – the macro level context in which business exists. Humanity will advance more in the next fifty years than it has in all of history – a shift driven largely by technology. This acceleration will fundamentally shift how we engage with each other, with business, and with the world at large.

Renowned business thinker and leadership scholar Prof. Rita McGrath argues: “Big inflection points change the recipe for success.”

But in a world where change is the norm, what is the inflection point? And more importantly what does the new recipe for success look like, for the world’s biggest brands?

Over the past 30 years, we have conducted thousands of brand valuation exercises, underpinned by our proprietary Brand Strength framework, to help business create roadmaps to stronger growth. This year, against a backdrop of increased economic uncertainty, the cumulative value of the world’s 100 Best Global Brands surpasses $3 trillion for the first time – up 16% year on year; proof that strong brands have greater resilience in tough times.

Are the world’s most valuable brands impervious to risk? No.

The average age of the top 5 brands in our ranking is just 39.6 years vs a total average of 110 years across all 100 brands. Competition is fierce and the speed at which the world’s most relevant businesses can scale is unprecedented. So too, is the risk. In the two decades since we launched Best Global Brands, only 36 companies have remained in our Top 100 Table. More than 140 have dropped off in the intervening years, including staple brands such as Nokia, AOL, Yahoo! and MTV

What does this mean for business today? And how will the role of brand evolve?

Over the past decade, we’ve seen and felt the forces of a new league in business – as evidenced in our Best Global Brands ranking; companies whose growth far surpasses all competition – with no signs of slowing down. This year, the cumulative value of the top #10 brands (1,649 $m) is greater than the combined value of the next #90 (1,440 $m).

The leaders of these super brands understand how, where and when to deploy their brand as an asset against emerging customer needs, in this landscape of perpetual, constant change.

Today, the world’s most successful companies start not with product, but with brand – as their critical growth asset and engine. The brand is a vehicle through which the business is able to address a range of different customer needs (or jobs to be done) – through an extended portfolio of differentiated products and services. These companies leverage the utility in their brand to drive exponential growth.

As Manfredi Ricca, Interbrand’s Global Chief Strategy Officer points out in this report: These companies aren’t contained by sectors, or silos, or swim lanes; they transcend traditional category thinking. Built on a foundation of exceptional products and strong and emotionally meaningful customer relationships, these companies move in multiple directions. They use the utility and equity in their brand to drive exponential growth in new spaces, whilst continuing to capitalize on existing incremental sector gains. At Interbrand, we call this Arena Thinking.

So how can the leaders of today and tomorrow, deploy their brand as an asset, to drive commercial success?

Brands as Acts of Leadership: An evolving meaning system

Business now has more of a role to play in creating a more equitable society, in service of a range of stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, communities and consumers. This burning platform creates an equity in solving collective social challenges – and brand becomes the essential vehicle for change.

The brands who have the potential to thrive in this Decade of Possibility will balance exceptional experience and unparalleled integrity, in order to drive sustainable revenue growth and profit. They will do things right and they will have an increased focus on doing the right things.

These signals help consumers understand where and when they share common values with a brand – and how and where the brand complements and fits in to their own meaning systems, driving a deeper emotional connection and higher relevance. This notion goes beyond what we have come to call purpose. It’s a higher order of Brand Leadership, underpinned by flawless interactions and fearless actions.

We call these signals ‘Acts of Leadership’. They are tough, often unapologetic, and singular stances; North Stars that guide a company’s decision making and leadership – across all operations. When applied in a context of perpetual change, these Acts have clear potential to accelerate a business’s ability to make informed, timely and relevant decisions – and in turn deliver deeper, more meaningful and more powerful customer relationships.

Over the past 18 months at Interbrand, we have been investing in making our own Moves, designed to help our clients and partners do things right and do the right things. We’ve introduced dedicated practice areas focused on Brand Ethics, Environment and Inclusive Design. For the first time, we have incorporated quantitative environmental, societal and governance (ESG) data into our Best Global Brands methodology. We talk more to the implications of this shift, and what Interbrand is doing to support our clients, later in this Best Global Brands report.

Our Climate Initiative, launched during Best Global Brands in 2021, has attracted significant interest, and with our corporate brand partners, continues to scale. This program is now the largest co-creation initiative of its kind – engaging brands, consumers and governments around the world. More and more corporate members are joining this coalition each week.

Alongside our endeavours in climate and sustainability, we have built an Ethics practice to help organizations act with integrity – something we believe will form the core of trust and the basis of a corporation’s permission to operate moving forward. And we have scaled our Inclusive Design practice, to help brands be as inclusive as possible across every touch point.

Through all of our work in these spaces, we have come to understand, brands who embrace Acts of Leadership find that they are able to transcend traditional sectors easier and scale faster than their competition. These Acts of Leadership provide the clarity and sense of direction than enables a brand to progress along a trajectory with confidence – redefining customer expectation, creating new category norms and delivering Iconic Moves.

All of us at Interbrand congratulate and celebrate each of the 100 brands who have been included in this year’s Best Global Brands ranking. And we look forward to working closely with all brands as we progress in this Decade of Possibility together.