The Brand and The Banks. The Top of the World

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It was published recently on The Banker, the ranking of the brand bank with more value in the world, designed and prepared by Brand Finance plc. The resulting data were a good omen to talk about an interesting phenomenon regarding the brand equity in some sectors.

We start looking at the standings.

Global results – Banks with Brand of Higher Value

International ranking 2015 International ranking 2014 Brand Country Brand

value 2015 (USDm)

Brand Rating 2015 % difference

value Brand

Differenza Valore Brand(USDm)
1 1 Wells Fargo US 34,925 AAA- 15% 4,683
2 6 ICBC China 27,459 AA+ 20% 4,656
3 2 HSBC UK 27,280 AAA 2% 410
4 9 China Construction Bank China 26,417 AAA- 39% 7,463
5 4 Citi US 26,210 AA+ 7% 1,692
6 3 Bank of America US 25,713 AA+ -4% -969
7 5 Chase US 24,819 AA 7% 1,662
8 10 Agricultural Bank Of China China 22,714 AA+ 28% 4,931
9 12 Bank of China China 20,392 AAA- 22% 3,666
10 8 Santander Spain 18,700 AAA- -7% -1,321

Let’s take a quick detail on the data:

The value of the brand of Italian banks fell by an average of 5%, these of Spain by 2%, -3% marks UK, Germany and France -6% and -19%. Netherlands, India and South Korea have exceeded Italy in the ranking.

Wells Fargo is still the most valuable brand in the world (34.9 billion USD) grew by 15% over the previous year. Remaining in the top of the US, Citi and Chase both mark up 7%, while Bank of America 4%, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan -7% and -15%.

As you can clearly see the two countries lead the way are the US and China. The latter, however, as in all areas is causing the most progress. Three important data: first ICBC has risen from 6th to 2nd place surpassing the British giant HSBC third right now; second important data is that China Construction Bank although behind ranked as brand value, however, has exceeded HSBC in terms of capitalization and the brand has made the leap monstrous growth of 39% surpassing Citi, BoA and Chase. Finally, Bank of China and Agricultural Bank of China have pushed the giant Santander in the bottom of the standings.

To get an idea of what is happening in the world we see the top ten countries with the highest rates of growth in Morocco (+ 98%), India (+ 61%), Nigeria (+ 52%), United Arab Emirates (+ 45 %), Colombia (+ 44%), Qatar (44%), the Philippines (+ 43%), Saudi Arabia (+ 40%), China (+ 29%) and Bahrain (+ 29%).

Now the question arises spontaneously: why the first brand by value in the world are mostly unknown to most of the world population with daily access to the media of mass information? Or better, why they are mostly of no interest to the majority of consumers? Usually the brand more value have a close relationship between the amount of people that are aware of the existence of the brand (brand awareness), the quality of its reputation for the brand image and the consequent desire to possess goods or services branded.

For example, it is easy to see that there are more people who own cars or products Fiat than Ferrari, but at the same time are more those who would love to have Ferrari products rather than Fiat. Setting another example, and imagine asking an American to say a name of an Italian brand. It is very likely that this appoints Ferrari rather than Fiat, Fiat is in spite of vastly greater size and it is above all the parent company of Ferrari. This is the manifestation of the strength of the brand. Ferrari as a brand is stronger than Fiat despite being economically inferior.

But how to determine the strength of a brand? The strength of the brand is the product of the relationship between:

investment in marketing


brand equity that is given by:

brand values



brand personality

consistency of events

Brand loyalty

brand awareness

perceived quality

brand associations

other typical

= The impact of the latter on the company business performance.

Think that in some areas the impact of brand equity on business performance is so high as to represent as much as 70-80% of the value of the products. Think about the perfume industry, where everything, from the study of fragrances, to the bottle design and the advertising are dictated by the dynamics of brand equity which is the engine that drives the customer to purchase.

Why in the banking sector it seems that this is at odds? For example I think taht a brand like Barclays has more appeal than many other higher in the standings. Three things you might notice immediately are naming, design and different opening to the public expressed by the User Interface of the various respective sites. Yet Barclays that has an excellent brand image is not one of the first ten.

As in all sectors the actual results achieved certainly going to increase the brand equity and the first in the ranking have all excellent financial performance. No less, we have to say that frequently in the financial sector, so waht for banks, financial groups, holding companies, investment funds and for personal experience add also the sector of start-up, that the relationship between brand equity and brand value seems to work in reverse. Normally means a good brand equity helps the business performance, but in this case it seems rather that business performance helps the brand equity.

What it happens in these areas very related to high finance, where investments and capitalization can change the fortunes of a company in a short time, is that the relationship usually founded between brand equity and its importance on performance business is distorted in a sense. In which sense? In the sense that the three forces who live within the brand equity: brand awareness, brand image and brand association, the first rises an value almost totalitarian than the other two thanks to huge investments in commercial policies, marketing or acquisitions. So we see a brand with great economic value given by only some of the values of the brand equity (especially the brand awareness) and investments, but often with large gaps to fill in terms of design, communication, and the layout of the relationship with the customer.

So be careful because not ever who has the brand with the most value is which is doing the better branding and each sector should be seen by their own rules in depth.

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