World's top 100 brands increase brand value to $3.4 trillion

26 June 2017

The world’s top 100 brands have a brand value of $3.4 trillion, up 133% on 2006, finds a new report. Google, Apple and Microsoft are the world’s most valuable brands, with total values of upwards of $580 billion. Apparel and fast food have managed to boost their value the most significantly since last year, while oil & gas company brand value plummeted.

The latest ‘BrandZ Global Top 100 Most Valuable Brands' report, released by marketing consultancies WPP and Kantar Millward Brown, identifies trends in the development of brand value among the world’s top 100 brands. Brand value, is defined according to the report as “the dollar amount a brand contributes to the overall value of a corporation.”

The value of the world’s biggest brands has seen sky high growth in recent years, totalling 133%, by increasing with leaps, bounds and plateaus between 2006 and 2016, to hit $3.4 trillion.

Brand value of worlds top 100 brands

The rapid appreciation of brand value is in part the result of leveraging the internet to give them global reach, according to Doreen Wang, Head of BrandZ who added that they are also “leveraging their brand equity as a global identity and passport. The expansion of a brand is now no longer defined by the limits of its category, but by the possibilities of technology. So there is no longer a need to wait to be a domestic giant before going global. Start your brand intending to go global, and anticipate the necessary business infrastructure."

Top 25 brands by brand value

Google comes out as the world’s top brand in the most recent report, its total value increasing 32% to hit $229 billion, and beating out Apple whose value was hit by an 8% contraction, falling to $228 billion and the top perch. Microsoft took third place, with a small increase in value of 5%, settling its total value at $121 billion. AT&T has moved into fourth spot, up two from the previous year on growth of 20%, while Facebook has clambered up seven spots to number five – its brand is now worth $107 billion.  

Visa takes the number six spot, with value of close to $100 billion, although Amazon is nipping at its heels, with 59% growth on the year previous it moved up seven spots to seventh. Verizon loses one spot, to eight, while McDonald's remains stationary on the year previous at number 9. IBM has seen its brand value decrease by 8%, seeing it lose six spots on the year previous.

Notable changes in the top 25 include Starbucks, whose brand value appreciated 49% and saw it move up eight spots, while Nike increased 26% to 24 from 28 the year previous. Alibaba was the biggest dropper in value, falling 26% and 5 spots – facing stiff competition from, which increased its brand value by 37% to come in at number 99.

Top 25 most valuable brands of the globe

Segment growth

The research also explored the change by sector as a whole; finding a relatively mixed bag of results. Some categories saw considerable growth. Apparel brands for instance, appreciated by 14% on average between 2015 and 2016, following no growth the previous year. Fast food saw 11% growth last year, up from 4% the previous year, while telecom providers managed to boost their apparent brand value among the public by 9% last year and 17% the year previous.

Not all brands however, have had a good run of it. Cars saw their total brand value depreciated by 3% last year following lacklustre growth the year previous of 3%. Beer too saw a contraction, falling -3% last year, following a 14% appreciation the year previous. Oil & gas saw the biggest drop in brand value however, at -20% – affected in part by the lower value of oil.

Top 100 most valuable brands of the globe - by industry

High potentials grow faster

The research also considered trends in the growth of brand values across the wider landscape between 2006 and 2016. For this, the authors identified 95 brands that have managed to be in the top 100 in both years, and split them into three groups, high-, medium- and low-potential.

The research found that the three groups have managed considerably different fortunes in their brand value growth. The high-potential group saw their total value growth far surpass that of the average, hitting 200% on average between them. The medium potential growth saw growth at a below average value of 91% across the whole period, while the low-potential group saw its brand value appreciate by 31% on average.

According to the study the high-potential brands tend to leverage innovation, which led to improved experiences among consumers – and correspondingly, increased brand valuation over time as their propositions build on their past to remain relevant.

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Project management industry adds £156 billion of value to UK economy

15 April 2019

Project management has grown into one of UK’s largest areas of business over the past decade, amid the increasing ‘projectification’ of work. With the gross value added to the UK economy by project management estimated to be £156 billion, this trend is likely to continue in the coming era.

Despite the huge success of project management in recent years, until now there has been relatively little data available on the size of project activity. As a result, there has been a great deal of debate on things like the number of people involved in the sector, the number of projects, and how it contributes to economic output. Due to this need for clarity, APM, the UK’s professional body for project management (the largest organisation of its kind in Europe, with 28,000 individual members) commissioned economists from PwC to shed light on the industry's economic impact.

The research concluded that the profession makes a more significant contribution to the UK economy than the financial services sector. 2.13 million full-time equivalent workers (FTEs) were employed in the UK project management sector, generating £156.5 billion of annual gross value added (GVA). In comparison, the financial services sector contributes £115 billion, and the construction industry adds £113 billion.

Gross value added to UK economy

Commenting on the discovery, Debbie Dore, Chief Executive of APM said, “Project management runs as a ‘golden thread’ through businesses, helping to develop new services, driving strategic change and sector-wide reform.”

Who is a ‘project manager’?

To reach these estimates, PwC’s researchers used detailed models to map out the value of project management activity. They ultimately defined relevant ‘projects’ as “temporary, non-routine endeavours or rolling programmes of change designed to produce a distinct product, service or end result… [with] a defined beginning and end, a specific scope, a ring-fenced budget, [and] an identified and potentially dedicated team with a project manager in charge.”

Building on this, they then went on to define what the act of project management actually is. The job consists of applying “processes, methods, knowledge, skills and experience” so that clients can meet their objectives and bring about planned outputs or outcomes. The analysts added that this includes “initiating the project, planning, executing, controlling, quality assuring and closing the work of an identified and dedicated team according to a specified budget and timeframe.”

Importantly, it should be noted that the profession is not exclusive to only roles explicitly labelled as ‘project manager’, but to any role where specialist project management skills are used. This means that across sectors these roles can have very different titles, from the self-explanatory contract managers of procurement, or the campaign managers of advertising, to the likes of festival co-ordinators in the events sector, and many more. The roles in question also span all strategic levels of the profession, from strategic to tactical and operational positions.

Gross value added of project management profession

From a sector perspective, the financial and professional services, construction and healthcare industries make up almost two-thirds of the total project management GVA. At the same time, understandably, the UK Government has a huge project portfolio, which further drives the size of the GVA the sector contributes, thanks to megaprojects like HS2 and Crossrail.

Commenting on this to the report’s authors, Oliver Dowden, Minister for Implementation remarked, “Project delivery is at the heart of all Government activity, whether it’s building roads and rail, strengthening our armed forces, modernising IT or transforming the way government provides public services to citizens. Getting these projects right is essential if we are to ensure that we build a country that works for everyone.”

Throughout 2019, 26 major government projects were delivered, representing a fifth of the overall Government Major Projects Portfolio (GMPP) of 133 projects. According to the IPA annual report 2017-18, these represented a whole life cost of £423 billion. In addition to this were a plethora of smaller scale projects, and those in early development.

Elsewhere, with the increasing digitalisation of the economy impacting entities of all shapes and sizes, IT and digital transformations tended to dominate the projects of the UK scene alongside new product development projects, with a respective 55% and 46% of organisations in the research sample having undertaken these types of project in the past year. At the same time, this varied across sectors, and unsurprisingly, in the construction and local government sectors, fixed capital projects were the main project type undertaken.


Looking to the future, 40% of business leaders expect project management will grow in the coming years due to the increased use of projects – or the ‘projectification’ of the UK. In a trend that has been witnessed elsewhere, organisations have to rapidly and continuously change in the digital age of business, driving the need for project management.

Outlook for project management services

An increased focus on value over cost – especially in the construction sector – and a forecast increase in the number of international projects are predicted to be key drivers of growth, according to the expert contributors. However, this will not happen in the absence of challenges; more than half of organisations expressed concern over the perceived impact of political uncertainty in the UK. Skills and capability shortages were also cited as a potential barrier by a third of organisations.

With regard to budgets, meanwhile, a third of those surveyed by PwC said they expect the size of project budgets will increase in the coming three years, while 40% anticipate a growth in project size. As the profession continues to mature, and as the recognition of the importance of good project management grows, it is expected that a greater proportion of project work will gain more distinct attribution to the profession itself, giving more recognition and appreciation to the role of the project manager.

Speaking on the findings of the study, Sandie Grimshaw, a Partner at PwC, concluded, “The project management profession is relatively new compared to some other professions, such as lawyers, teachers and doctors. However, as project management is a core competence vital to organisations in the UK, the profession is critical and will continue to grow in stature.”