Unbound Edition. Meaningful conversations about brand, from Davis Brand Capital.

Best Brand Managers Beat the Markets

SummaryCompanies Excelling in Overall Brand Management Outperformed Markets in 2016 by up to 7.6 percentage points

Davis Brand Capital, a comprehensive brand consultancy, has released its eighth-annual Davis Brand Capital 25, a global study of more than 2,000 companies and a ranking of the top-25 that excel in overall brand management. The study evaluates five key areas driving brand today: brand value, competitive performance, innovation strength, company culture and social impact.

“A hypothetical portfolio of the 2016 Davis Brand Capital 25 companies showed a return of 17.4 percent, beating the NASDAQ by 7.6 percentage points, the S&P 500 by 6.2 percentage points and the Dow Jones by 2.2 percentage points. This is the fifth-consecutive year we have shown that companies excelling in brand management beat the markets,” said Patrick T. Davis, founder and chief executive officer at Davis Brand Capital.

Technology titans earned the top-three spots on the 2016 ranking. After five years atop the ranking, Apple dropped down to second place, with Alphabet taking the lead and Microsoft earning third. IBM (#4) and General Electric Company (#5) finished out the top five. Microsoft is notable for its stability in the number three spot, a place it has occupied and held consistently for all eight years of the ranking.

“Every year we see leading companies rise and fall in the rankings, often times significantly so. It’s impressive to see Microsoft maintain its steady position as a global leader in brand management in a tech industry defined by dramatic changes,” said Elizabeth K. Vermann, director of research at at Davis Brand Capital.


The influence of technology, however, spread far beyond that sector and transformed other industries represented on the 2016 ranking. Alphabet, Apple, Toyota Motor Corporation (#6), Daimler A.G. (#7), BMW A.G. (#12) and Ford Motor Company (#15) significantly expanded their autonomous vehicle development programs, collectively giving a decisive nod to the future of transportation. Artificial intelligence (AI) plays also made an impact, as in-home AI systems were launched by Amazon Services (#10) and Alphabet’s Google, both with plans to extensively expand functionality into future systems. In banking, Citigroup (#24) explored machine-learning algorithms.

The mainstream consumer was back in 2016. While Walmart and LVMH – the low and high-end for retail, respectively – fell off the list in 2016, CVS Health (#22) made its debut. This was driven in part by its extended presence into Target stores nationwide. Amazon, which moved Walmart to purchase Jet.com in 2016, further challenged the retailer with expansion plans in two directions: same-day delivery and brick-and-mortar stores.

Amid major shifts across the media landscape in 2016, The Walt Disney Company (#17) was the only media and entertainment company to make the list. Having purchased Lucasfilm and the Star Wars franchise, Disney benefited from Skywalker and friends’ enormous brand equity, grossing more than $7 billion in the past two years alone.

Rivalries were settled among the most coveted consumer brands. The cola wars ended with The Coca-Cola Company (#13) besting PepsiCo (#16). The Procter & Gamble Company (#8) led the consumer products industry, beating out both Johnson & Johnson (#14) and Nestlé S.A. (#19). Daimler AG (#7) beat out its Bavarian rival, BMW AG (#12) largely due to the Mercedes-Benz nameplate.

“Chinese brands fell from the list entirely in 2016, with little brand representation coming out of Asia overall,” said Vermann. Those that did make the 2016 list all dropped in rank from previous years. Samsung Electronics (#9), based in South Korea, dropped four spots from its 2015 rank after it recalled the brand’s flagship device, the Galaxy Note7. Toyota Motor Corporation (#6) also fell two spots on the 2016 list after a mostly stagnant year.



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