I am delighted to see that a second European firm has entered the fray to be the publisher of the definitive annual ranking of the world’s most valuable brands. This means we now have two US-headquartered contestants (Interbrand and Millward Brown) and two European-based contestants (Brand Finance and, as of last week, the European Brand Institute).
The European Brand Institute launched its inaugural list of the world’s top 100 brands on October 12 and it is a charmingly eclectic list.
Two things in particular caught my eye:
- The inclusion of a far greater number of European companies (including Bayer, BASF, Bertelsmann, Bosch, Dior, Fiat, Rewe, Sanofi-Aventis, Vivendi), many of whom have not previously appeared in the top 100 brand lists
- The inclusion of corporate brands (AB InBev, Bertelsmann, Daimler, Diageo, Exxon-Mobil, J&J, LVMH, McKesson, P&G, Pfizer, Philip Morris, Unilever) rather than their better known product brands such as Budweiser, Louis Vuitton, Marlboro, Mercedes or Smirnoff
The effect of these inclusions is, of course, the exclusion of some perennial members of the top 100 list – you will look in vain for Canon, Dell, eBay, Porsche, Santander or Siemens on the European Brand Institute’s list.
The consequence of this is that there only 30 brands are common to all four top 100 lists for 2011.
Nonetheless, I am pleased to see another well-intentioned and thoughtful approach being taken to the topic of brand valuation. As a rookie player, the European Brand Institute should be commended on an impressive debut.
That is not to say that the list is devoid of some “head scratchers” - CNP? McKesson? Rewe? Seriously??
As the European Brand Institute prepares their 2012 rankings, there is one big issue that I would like them to ponder: is the purpose of their list to measure brand value at the corporate level (the NPV of all brand-related profits earned across all owned brands) or at the individual brand level (whether that brand is a corporation or not)?
The 2011 list contains a mix of corporates that have “a house of brands” strategy (Daimler, Diageo, Inditex, Philip Morris, Pfizer, Unilever) and corporates with a “branded house” strategy (Apple, H&M, Honda, Microsoft). It is hard to tell whether the intent of the list is to identify the largest brand owners – or the largest brands?