Why Big Brands Are Vital For Investors

Brand awareness is a relatively recent concept starting in the Sixties when the power of TV advertising shot product identities into stellar orbit as household names.

Brand value followed later as a measure of how much a brand is worth if sold.

Over time, branding has changed and has become a byword with fans for characteristics like cost, snappy design, innovation and reliability.

Many brands, like electronic appliance company Hoover, have slipped into everyday conversation.

Brand value is important to investors as a gauge of what other investors and consumers think about the reputation of a business.

For instance, if a rival acquired a business and wanted to trade with the name, logo and brands, any money paid for that right is the brand value.

The World’s Most Valuable Brands 2022

These are the world’s top ten most valuable brands for data from April 2022.

Apple (Brand value: $355 billion)

Apple was founded in April 1976 by college dropouts Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in a small garage workshop. From these small beginnings, the pair changed how people viewed technology. Innovative products like the iPhone and iPad. Made the devices small enough for people to carry with them. Listed on the New York NASDAQ, Apple’s market value is also the world’s largest standing at $2.11 trillion.

The brand name is synonymous with sleek design, intuitive use and durable components.

Amazon ($350 billion)

In 1994, former Wall Street hedge fund manager Jeff Bezos launched Amazon from his garage in Washington DC. The original Amazon was a comprehensive online bookshop. The success of the venture led Bezos to develop more services, like cloud computing; IMDb, the online movie database and the gaming platform Twitch.

Amazon shares trade on the NASDAQ with a market capitalisation of a shade over $1 trillion.

Bezos says he chose the brand name because the Amazon is ‘exotic and different in people’s minds and he wanted the world’s biggest company, like the Amazon river is the longest in the world.

Google ($263 billion)

Not the A-word – Alphabet – but the company’s brand, Google. Like Amazon, Google has had a finger in lots of pies since starting a business in September 1998. Founded straight out of university by students Larry Page and Sergery Brin, Google is the world’s most popular search engine. Google also powers a giant advertising business, cloud computing, and online shopping and has artificial intelligence and smartphone software spin-offs.

Google is now part of Alphabet, with shares trading on the NASDAQ and a market cap of $1.39 trillion.

The Google name seems like a happy accident – the firm was checking if was available and wrongly typed in The rest is history.

Microsoft ($184 billion)

Microsoft follows the business model of Apple, Amazon and Google by starting in founder Bill Gates’ garage. The big break came in the Eighties when IBM and other computer hardware firms adopted Microsoft DOS (MS-DOS) as the operating system for their technologies. DOS later became Windows.

In recent years, Microsoft has diversified with the acquisitions of business social media platform LinkedIn and online messenger Skype.

Microsoft shares trade on the NASDAQ, with a market cap of $1.83 trillion.

The name Microsoft comes from shortening the phrase ‘microcomputer software’.

Walmart ($111 billion)

Walmart breaks the mould in the list of big brands as the largest not rooted in technology. Walmart is a US-based retail corporation formed in Arkansas in 1962. The firm has more than 10,500 stores worldwide operating under 46 different names in 24 countries. Walmart is the world’s largest revenue earner, with customers putting $570 billion through the tills each year and the world’s largest private employer with 2.2 million staff.

Walmart shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange. The company has a market cap of $330 billion.

The company name comes from a shortened version of the founder’s name Sam Walton plus ‘mart’.

Samsung ($107 billion)

Samsung is a huge conglomerate based in South Korea. The company is one of the world’s leading makers of electronic devices and computer chips, while other divisions are among the world’s largest shipbuilder, construction company and life insurance provider. Samsung was founded in 1938 as a general trading company with interests in retail, textiles and foodstuffs, the company moved into electronics in the Sixties.

Samsung is listed on the Korean Stock Exchange with a $310 billion market cap.

The name Samsung is Korean for ‘three stars’.

Facebook ($101 billion)

Facebook is one of the biggest global social media platforms with a claimed 2.8 billion active users. Formed in 2003 by CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his uni friends in 2004, the site is named after facebook directories handed out to students by US universities. The site makes enormous sums of cash from recycling user data to target advertising.Facebook has recently rebranded as Meta – a name Zuckerberg feels better reflects a corporation working in artificial intelligence.

The NASDAQ lists Meta shares with a market cap of $435 billion. Meta also owns Instagram and WhatsApp social media platforms.

ICBC ($75 billion)

ICBC – otherwise known as the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China – is a state-owned company based in Beijing. Ranked as the world’s largest bank and rated the most profitable company in the world before Apple stole the crown this year, the ICBC boasts 650 million personal customers and 8 million business customers.

ICBC shares are listed on the stock exchanges in Shanghai and Hong Kong with a $1.71 trillion market cap.

Huawei ($71 billion)

Huawei is a private company and has no shares to trade on the stock market. The company is well-known for making smartphones and other telecommunication technology. Investors should know that the US designated the firm a Chinese military company and banned them from buying shares from November 2020. Currently, only employees can hold shares. Huawei has 190,000 workers across 170 countries.

Due to the company;s ownership structure and links with the Chinese government and military, some countries ban trading with Huawei. TRanslated, the name means Chinese achievement.

Verizon ($68 billion)

Verizon rose like a phoenix from the merger of GTE, the biggest telecommunications firm in America and rival Bell Atlantic Corp in June 2000. The name comes from merging ‘veritas’, the Latin for truth, with ‘horizon’. The corporation provides internet, cloud computing and telephone services across the US.

Verizon is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and has a market cap of $205 billion.

What about Bitcoin?

Bitcoin, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency, is certainly a brand but the name does nor belong to any government or corporation.

The crypto is unregulated, which means no entity has any control, while software development and updates are handled by a peer-to-peer group of experts and enthusiasts. The brand value of Bitcoin is tough to calculate because crypto exists in a different universe from Apple, Google and the rest.

Brand reputation salso takes a dive because of the volatile movement of Bitcoin as a currency.

It’s fair to say that few people wake up with Bitcoin worth the same amount of money as when they went to sleep.

Hence Bitcoin does not show in the top 25 most valuable brands 2022

Bitcoin is not the only big brand to miss the top 10 – near misses include car makers Toyota and Mercedes Benz, Disney, energy company Shell and Chinese social media platform TikTok.

What was the biggest brand before Apple?

Coca Cola ruled the world before the advent of big tech and ahead of rival Pepsi.

But Coke and Pepsi dropped out of the ratings as the world went digital with Apple leading the charge.

In common with other competitors, the world has turned away from carbonated drink brands in recent years. Sales were already dipping before the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the world and continue to do so. Drinks companies are looking for a way to revive their fortunes and are investing millions in bringing new energy drinks to market.

It’s also notable that brands like McDonald’s, Uber have no place on the list.

What is the world’s largest company?

Apple almost wins this category as well, but is pipped to top place by Saudi Aramco.

The company is owned by the Saudi royal family and manages the kingdom’s oil and gas fields. Aramco employs 67,000 workers and looks after the country’s oil and gas reserves and production.

Aramco is the world’s biggest company by revenue earned with a market cap of $2.27 trillion. The company is listed on the Tadawul Stock Exchange in Saudi Arabia.

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