Retail banks thrive in 2015 as global banks decline overall 

Retail focused banks have put in the strongest performance of all banking brands in 2015 as the investment sector continued to struggle with the fallout from the economic crisis and tougher regulatory scrutiny. This is the key finding of the tenth annual ranking of the world’s most valuable banks released today by WPP and Millward Brown.

Banks such as ING, Santander and the Agricultural Bank of China all managed to forge stronger ties with consumers thanks to their sharp focus on the consumer offer. ING and Santander were the strongest risers in the global banking sector, up 18% and 10% respectively, while Agricultural Bank of China took its rural offer into China’s cities to boost its regional bank performance by 11%.

All banks continue to struggle with trust, but the best performers boosted their trust scores to 101 (where 100 is an average brand) compared to 97 for those which lost brand value. Similarly this year’s best performers scored 113 or above for being responsible compared to 107 for those that declined.

“Retail focus was a winning strategy for banks in 2015. Brands that looked to build relationships with consumers were able to overcome generic antipathy to the banking sector and become ‘the one I trust’ for their customers,” said Sana M Carton, Sector Managing Director at Millward Brown. “Banks and payment brands should also be keeping a watchful eye on the dangers of category disruption as brands like Apple, PayPal, Amazon and Alibaba begin to play an increasing role in the payment experience as part of their wider share of life strategies.”

The successes of the retail focused banks however covered up poor performance from many other banking brands. The total value of the top 10 global banking brands fell by 2% to $120.8bn, a disappointing fall after last year’s 15% growth.

Regional banks performed more positively with a 1% gain to $254.5bn, reflecting their traditionally closer relationships with consumers.

The most successful banking brands in the 2015 BrandZTM Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands ranking compiled by Millward Brown are HSBC, which retained its position as the no.1 Global Bank at $24bn, while Wells Fargo retained top spot in the Regional Bank chart at $59.3bn.

HSBC has been broadening the services it offers to consumers in the corporate and business space, refreshing its product offering in established markets.

Wells-Fargo has grown its brand value by 9% to $59.3bn, helped by a rising share price, increasing loan volume and decreasing loan losses as the US economy has improved.

Other strong performers include JP Morgan, up 9% to $13.5bn in the Global Banking top 10, with the Bank of China, rising 16% in the Regional Banking Chart at $16.4bn.

The BrandZTM Top 10 Most Valuable Global Bank Brands 2015

Rank 2015 Brand Brand Value 2015 ($M) Brand Value Change Rank 2014
1 HSBC 24,029 -11% 1
2 Citi 17,486 +1% 2
3 JP Morgan 13,522 +9% 3
4 Santander 12,181 +10% 4
5 ING Bank 11,560 +18% 5
6 Barclays 8,835 -7% 7
7 BBVA 8,739 N/A NEW
8 Morgan Stanley 8,289 N/A NEW
9 Goldman Sachs 8,255 -2% 10
10 UBS 7,933 -18% 6 

The BrandZTM Top 10 Most Valuable Regional Bank Brands 2015

Rank 2015 Brand Brand Value 2015 ($M) Brand Value Change Rank 2014
1 Wells Fargo 59,310 +9% 1
2 ICBC 38,808 -8% 2
3 RBC 23,989 +6% 4
4 China Construction Bank 22,065 -12% 3
5 TD 20,638 +3% 6
6 Commonwealth Bank of Australia 20,599 -2% 5
7 Agricultural Bank of China 20,189 +11% 8
8 ANZ 17,702 -7% 7
9 Bank of China 16,438 16 10
10 US Bank 14,786 -1% 9

Other highlights and key findings from this year’s BrandZ Top 100 study include:

  • Technology is the fastest-growing category – up 24% in the last year, the tech brands in the Top 100 are worth more than $1trn, nearly a third of the value of all brands in the ranking. Apple retook the no.1 spot in the Top 100 ranking, surging past Google with growth of 67% to $247bn.
  • Facebook is the fastest riser, with 99% growth achieved through its successful strategy of acquiring and integrating other social apps such as Instagram and WhatsApp, and an understanding of how to monetise and cross-sell its platforms.
  • E-commerce boosts retail brand value as Alibaba enters the ranking and overtakes Amazon – Chinese e-commerce leader Alibaba entered the retail ranking at $66.4bn, helping to grow the retail category ranking by 24% and overtaking both Amazon and Walmart. The most valuable retail brands Alibaba and Amazon, which lack physical stores, are now worth more than Walmart, which has 11,000 stores worldwide.
  • Insurance sector gets a boost from Asia– the insurance sector grew its total brand value by 21% to $80.4bn. China Life retook the top spot from its rival Ping An, with a 44% rise in brand value to $17.4bn, the strongest performance in the sector. The sector has been buoyed by strong growth in Asia, where rising prosperity, growing car ownership and the role of insurance products as investment vehicles have all contributed to a stellar performance.

The BrandZTM Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands is now in its tenth year. Analysis of the 10-year trajectory of the brands in the ranking has revealed that:

  • Europe’s brand powerhouses stagnate as Chinese brands grow and US brands make a comeback. The number of Chinese brands continues to grow with 14 brands in the Top 100, up from one in 2006, and an increase of 1004% in value. The value of US brands grew by 137% in the last 10 years (up 19% in the last year) compared to just 31% in Europe (down -9.3% in the last year). There are now just 24 brands from Europe in the ranking (down from 35 in 2006). This represents a shift from West to East; most of the brands that have been ‘pushed out’ of the Top 100 by China were from Europe.
  • High value brands provide faster bottom-line growth and shareholder value. In the last 10 years, a measurement of the strongest brands from the Top 100 as a ‘stock portfolio’ shows their share price has risen over three times more than the MSCI World Index and almost two thirds more than the S&P500.

Carried out by WPP’s marketing and brand consultancy Millward Brown, the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands study is the only ranking in the world that uses the views of potential and current buyers of a brand, alongside financial data, to calculate brand value.

The BrandZ™ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands report, rankings and more brand insight for key regions of the world and 14 market sectors are available online here. A new suite of interactive smartphone and tablet applications will also be available for free download via Apple IOS and all Android devices from or search for BrandZ in the respective iTunes or Google Play app stores.

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