Kantar, WPP and Google recently launched the 2020 Top 50 BrandZTM Chinese Global Brand Builders Ranking report. While 2019 was not necessarily a standout year for the world economy, the Top 50 Chinese Global Brand Builders nonetheless grew their brand power by 8%, a pace slower than 15% in the previous year. If there’s a silver lining in this, it is that top Chinese global brands are seeing a steady increase in global awareness, especially among young people. On average, 20% of 18 to 34-year-olds in the seven countries1 surveyed for this report are aware of brands in the top 50 today, compared with 16% in 2018 — a 25% jump in just two years.
To measure consumer perception of Chinese brands outside of China, we created a four-step methodology that leverages BrandZ analytics with Google’s online reach and data gathering capabilities. BrandZ is the world’s leading source of brand equity and valuation knowledge and insight. Google Surveys is an online market research tool for rapidly gaining knowledge and insight about the attitudes and behaviour of people worldwide.
The research surveyed more than 420,000 consumers in seven key countries. We compared 960 candidate brands across 14 categories with brands in local markets to select the final top 50 brands.
Brand power is the BrandZ metric of brand equity, the consumer predisposition to choose a particular brand. Three ingredients comprise brand power: meaningful (meeting functional and emotional needs in relevant ways); different (being distinctive or trend setting); and salient (coming easily to mind in a buying situation). Meaningful and different scores of each brand were computed based on Google Survey answers. Each brand’s salience was computed based on the survey answers and the brand’s search index in Google and YouTube.
While there are many stable brands at the top of the ranking, disruption is rampant across the rest. For example, the top 50 welcomed six new brands. Four of them come from the mobile gaming sector, while the globally ambitious Trip.com and well-known Tsingtao beer rounded out the list. Interestingly, new brands were well distributed throughout the ranking, with one as high as #10 and two mobile gaming brands coming in at #49 and #50. This shows that every brand has the opportunity to enter the ranking—and weaker brands also have the potential to leave too.
Three key insights from this year’s ranking
While 2019 was not necessarily a standout year for the world economy, the top 50 Chinese global brand builders nonetheless grew their brand power. In particular, the top 10 of these brands are proving healthy and resilient in an environment of uncertainty — and even finding opportunities for growth.
1. Consumer electronics and mobile gaming rule the roost
So what’s contributing the most brand power? Two categories, consumer electronics and mobile gaming, account for 50% of the total brand power. This should not be surprising. The consumer electronics category includes many of the strongest brands in the ranking. Mobile gaming, meanwhile, contributes the greatest number of brands at 12.
It’s worth mentioning, however, that the two diverge significantly in their approach to branding. Many consumer electronics brands have invested in a customer-centric approach and show considerable stability, while mobile gaming brands tend to be more performance-focused and move around the rankings more.
However, some of the latter are increasingly focusing on creating strong brands for their games, which is helping stabilize their growth.
2. The strong stay stronger
If overall the top 50 brands are living in disruptive times, the top 10 are showing how brand power can insulate a company from volatility. The top 10, all of which have long invested in building global brands, outpaced the rest of the rankings, growing their brand power scores 11%. In addition, the most powerful brands were much more stable than their counterparts with none of them moving more than one place in the rankings.
3. Meaningful rules the ranking
What drives the high brand power of the top 10? Meaningfulness. They are consistently delivering experiences that allow them to make a strong emotional connection with their customers. These can include creating the best possible UX, connecting with and listening to customers, or making a product or service especially easy to buy. As a result, they all over-index in creating meaningful associations for the consumers, who are rewarding them with strong loyalty.
1 The seven countries include Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Spain, UK and US.