British companies shining in the battle of the brands

Models on the catwalk during the Burberry Prorsum Autumn/Winter 2014 show in London.
Models on the catwalk during the Burberry Prorsum Autumn/Winter 2014 show in London.
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BURBERRY, BT and the BBC have emerged as Britain’s star performers in the battle for supremacy among the world’s biggest brands.

Brand Finance has tested international businesses to determine the strongest and most valuable names.

The London-based consultancy’s Global 500 said British brands have had a successful year of growth, none more so than BT.

BT’s brand value rose 70 per cent to £9.3bn following its aggressive move into content by investing huge sums in football and rugby to challenge rival Sky.

Burberry, which “wears its Britishness on its sleeve”, saw its brand value rise 22 per cent to £2.5bn.

The fashion house manufactures its iconic trenchcoats at a factory in Castleford, West Yorkshire.

The BBC’s brand is now worth £3bn, up 22 per cent in the last year, thanks to the success of its commercial wing in exporting the programmes and formats developed by Britain’s “exceptional creative talent”, said Brand Finance.

Yorkshire provides two of Britain’s most valuable brands in Asda and Morrisons, although Leeds-based Asda saw its brand value edge down by 0.4 per cent to £4.76bn.

Bradford-based Morrisons, on the other hand, saw its brand value rise by 20 per cent to £3.88bn by launching an online shopping service and expanding its estate of convenience stores.

In spite of frequently scathing press coverage about bonus payments, rate rigging and IT glitches, British bank brands had a largely successful year, according to Brand Finance.

HSBC was the top performer in financial services, rising 17 per cent to £16.26bn.

Tui Travel, the owner of the Thomson and First Choice brands, is not just Britain’s biggest leisure travel company, but the most valuable travel brand worldwide, said the consultancy.

The UK-listed operator increased its value 25 per cent to £2.4bn.

“With much of Britain underwater after weeks of rain, Tui Travel can look forward to further growth this year as families rush to escape to warmer (and dryer) climes,” said Brand Finan- ce.

New entries included mobile giant EE, which spent heavily on TV advertising and event sponsorship including the Baftas, to develop its £3.2bn brand, although it is a long way behind Vodafone, Britain’s most valuable brand worth £17.9bn (and up 9 per cent over the last year).

Another new entry was Royal Mail, which has a brand value of £3.3bn, one of the highest valuations against enterprise value, suggesting that the controversy surrounding its privatisation could continue.

“Assertions that the Government had undervalued Royal Mail seem well founded,” said Brand Finance.

US brands dominated the global list, occupying 185 of the top 500 spots. Japan was second, thanks to the power of its automotive sector represented by Toyota, Mitsubishi and Honda. Germany, France and the UK completed the top five.

Robert Haigh, spokesman for Brand Finance, told the Yorkshire Post: “Britain performed fairly well with brand values increasing 20 per cent. It compares favourably against the US and Japan, although not quite so well as European rivals.”

Apple retained its crown as the world’s most valuable brand for the third consecutive year at $104.68bn, up 20 per cent. But its dominance is being challenged by Samsung, which saw its value rise by 34 per cent to $77.75bn.

The top 10 reflects the digital revolution sweeping the world: US retailer Walmart is the only non-tech brand remaining in the list.

Once the world’s most valuable brand, the owner of Asda now sits in ninth position having been overtaken by online rival Amazon.

“Yet another coup for tech brands over real-world businesses,” said Brand Finance.