Brands Valuations Go Topsy-Turvy Over Last 10 Years

James T. Berger headshot

James T. Berger
Senior Marketing Writer

Published October 6, 2015

Brand valuations for the world’s most valuable global 100 brands have increased 126 percent to $3.3 trillion dollars over the last 10 years according to WPP and the firm of Millward Brown, who created the BrandZ rating system. This data was presented in a special 10th anniversary edition of BrandZ Top 100 Global Brands.

Disputing the economic turbulence over the last decade, the BrandZ ratings show that most brand categories increased in value. Leaders were fast food and technology. Seven categories doubled their values—fast food, technology, beer, apparel, telecom, soft drink and retail. The biggest shift according to the BrandZ report was technology, which combined with telecom accounted for 44 percent of the accumulated top 100 brand values. This compares with 35 percent 10 years ago. Despite their increases, the consumer categories together declined as a proportion of the $3.3 trillion total.

It was the individual brands that really went topsy-turvy. The values of the top 10 brands tripled over the last 10 years and represent $1.1 trillion of the $3.3 trillion valuation of the top 100. Five of the top 10 a decade ago dropped out of this elite category. No brand occupies the same ranking that it held 10 years ago.

“This reality reflects both the essential power and stability of high-value brands, and the extraordinary pressures that brands faced during the past 10 years,” according to BrandZ Millward Brown.

The top brand in the world, Apple, valued at nearly $247 billion, wasn’t even on the top 10 a decade ago. The 2nd ranked brand, Google, valued at $173 billion, ranked 7th 10 years ago and was then valued at $37 billion. The 3rd brand in 2015, Microsoft, was the leader 10 years ago and its valuation changed from $62 billion then to $115 billion today. IBM is another holdover. The 4th brand today was the 8th a decade ago with a $94 billion valuation today compared with $36 billion back then.  The 5th ranked brand, Visa, is another newcomer and the first non-technology company to crack the Top 10. Its valuation is $91 billion.

AT&T, another newcomer, made it into the top 10 at 6th with a valuation of $89 billion followed by Verizon, another telecom newby, valued at $86 billion. Coca-Cola is the first of the food-beverage companies to crack the top 10 at 8th with a valuation of $85 billion. Coke rated 3rd 10 years ago with a valuation of $41 billion.  Despite its recent problems, McDonald’s made it into the 2015 top 10 with a valuation of $81 billion. Marlboro rounded out the 2015 top 10 with a valuation of $80 billion compared to $38 billion a decade ago when it was ranked 5th.

Companies that disappeared from the top 10 were: GE (2nd), China Mobile (4th), Walmart (6th), Citi (9th) and Toyota (10th).

BrandZ attributes the greatest valuations to the joint attributes of brand proposition and excellent advertising.

According to BrandZ Millward Brown: “The brands that consumers say have a strong brand proposition and excellent advertising grew 168 percent over the past 10 years. Brands with strong brand proposition but lacking excellent advertising grew just 76 percent over the last years.”  However, BrandZ points out those brands with strong advertising but weak brand proposition grew only 27 percent in value.

About The Author

James T. Berger headshot
James T. Berger, Senior Marketing Writer of The Wiglaf Journal, through his Northbrook-based firm, James T. Berger/Market Strategies, offers a broad range of marketing communications, research and strategic planning consulting services. In addition, he provides expert services to intellectual property attorneys in the area of trademark infringement litigation. An adjunct professor of marketing at Roosevelt University, he previously has taught at Northwestern University, DePaul University, University of Illinois at Chicago and The Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. He holds degrees from the University of Michigan (BA), Northwestern University (MS) and the University of Chicago (MBA). Berger is an often-published free lance business writer who has developed more than 100 published articles in the last eight years. For more information, visit or telephone him at (847) 328-9633.