Visa: #1 Most Valuable Financial Services Brand

Climbing to #6 overall in the Kantar BrandZ 2023 Most Valuable Global Brands
06 September 2023
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Thor Johnson

VP, Client Partner, Insights, North America

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Launched in 1976, Visa is currently ranked #1 among Financial Services brands and has climbed two positions in two years, from #8 to #6 among the top 100 most valuable global brands overall in the Kantar BrandZ Most Valuable Global Brands for 2023. Based upon its proprietary brand equity study, which uses a combination of rigorously analyzed financial data and extensive brand equity research, Kantar estimates the value of the Visa brand is over $169 billion.

Although its value in 2023 fell by 11% since 2021-2022, Visa fared better than the Top 100 brands in the global ranking, whose collective value fell by 20% this year. Moreover, taking a broader view over a longer term, Visa has increased its total brand value by 16% since 2018. In addition, Visa and other top payments brands led the Financial Services category in value, with Visa, Mastercard and American Express ranking in the top 3 positions, respectively, together achieving 44% more value than the rest of top 10 Financial Service brands combined.

The power of brand

Clearly, brand plays a strong role at Visa. Visa recognizes that the company’s success depends in large part on its ability to maintain the value of its brand. The company includes its brand among its five foundations (along with its networks, technology platforms, security and talent) and views the Visa brand as an important asset for its key stakeholders, which include Visa clients and their customers, partners, merchants and financial institutions. Visa has been investing in strengthening its brand as well, spending more than $1.3 billion in marketing last year—an 18% increase over 2021—through advertising and promotions, as well as sponsorships with organizations such as FIFA, the International Olympic Committee and the NFL.

These efforts have no doubt contributed to the company’s leadership position in the BrandZ Most Valuable Global Brands ranking. Visa stands out from other brands in the Financial Services category in key areas within Kantar’s proprietary Meaningful, Different, Salient brand value framework, which is among the inputs powering the Kantar BrandZ ranking. In particular, Visa indexed 43% higher than the average Financial Services brand in being Meaningful (how a brand both makes consumers feel and fulfills their needs) and 53% higher in being Salient (how easily consumers are able to recall the brand when choosing). In addition, Visa’s demand power, an estimate of what a brand’s volume share would be if purchase decisions were based purely on brand associations, is more than twice the average of brands in the Financial Services category.

However, Visa was slightly below average in being seen as Different from its competitors, suggesting consumers have positive feelings about the Visa brand but may not perceive significant differences between it and other financial service brands.

Overall, Visa has succeeded in establishing itself as a global ecosystem brand, fitting easily into and playing a valuable role in consumers’ everyday lives and shopping habits. Visa is perceived by consumers as a highly trusted brand that works well, over-indexing in both the Convenient and Trust measures of the Kantar BrandZ study—two critical strengths for payment brands across every major market. However, Visa is not immune to the threat of new fin tech brands, as the company’s brand equity has been eroded in recent years by new players in Europe and emerging economies.

Sustainability efforts and consumer awareness: Bridging the gap

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives are an important priority for Visa, which views ESG as one its responsibilities as a trusted brand. Since 2020, the company has been purchasing 100% renewable electricity and has attained carbon neutrality for its operations. It also has a stated goal of becoming a net zero company by 2040 and has been a prominent sponsor and supporter of women’s sports, including the Women’s World Cup. Visa has been recognized for its ESG initiatives within the market, including being part of the Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index for several years running. Yet, it appears the company’s many efforts may not have broadly sunken in with consumers, who view Visa as “lacking” in the area of Sustainability. For perspective, Visa is not alone in this assessment. Although Sustainability brand perceptions have almost doubled since 2014 among top global brands, per Kantar BrandZ, the 2023 report finds that 1 in 2 of the Most Valuable Global Brands are deemed “lacking” in Sustainability credentials by consumers, while only 2% of the top 100 were viewed as “leading” in Sustainability.

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