The release of the 2019 BrandZ Top 100 Global Brands list demonstrated a few shared characteristics about the world’s most recognisable and profitable business identities. Last blog, we looked at the importance of branding, so what other lessons can we smaller fish draw for our own benefit?

One of the key elements these international companies shared is a clear purpose that is aligned with cultural and social expectations. While it’s naïve to believe for-profit businesses will reverse the environmental damage inflicted by hypercapitalism, consumers have shown greater concern for businesses that operate ethically and responsibly – and they’re voting with their wallets.

As a result of this market shift, environmental consciousness and sustainability were key focuses for numerous companies in the Top 100. Various personal care and consumer goods companies have joined a project with recycling company TerraCycle to reduce single-use packaging. This presents opportunity for these companies to reassess its branding decisions since new packaging can offer FMCGs a new look for products while informing consumers about the company’s ethical business decisions. It also presents opportunities to streamline supply chains and create alignment with external stakeholders.

According to the BrandZ Top 100 report, this year saw the names of two business categories change as ‘soft drink’ became ‘beverages’ while ‘oil and gas’ became ‘energy’. This is in line with the cultural shift towards heathier choices and more sustainable options. It also reflects the ever-shifting priorities of businesses and consumers. Companies that remain fluid and attuned to market changes have a far better chance at thriving.

No business encapsulates this better than the number one company on the list: Amazon. The business began as an online bookseller, opened its retail categories, and now creates digital content through its streaming platform: Amazon Prime. This a company that has refined its operations down a science before moving into new markets – relying on its strong branding, streamlined processes, and growing scale to redefine its purpose.

Chairman of BrandZ and CEO of The Store WPP, EMEA & Asia, David Roth said in the report, “Brand building is an investment, not a cost.” A common trait amongst the Top 10 particularly is long-term thinking and investment in designing a strong and recognisable brand. Each of these companies have built a strong aesthetic synonymous with the products and/or services it offers. A business that invests wisely in its marketing give itself a clear advantage in an era when consumer choice is abundant, competition is fierce, and mistakes are costly.

Another key element that was highlighted was the importance of building diversity within businesses – opening new possibilities by employing those that offer new and dynamic viewpoints. This means training and retaining the right talent is critical. Those businesses with strong branding and reputation will attract a wider pool of talent, and those that invest in the onboarding and development of that talent are more likely to innovate.

The recurring motif in all these companies is strong investment – into its operations, into its people, and into its branding. Each of these elements ensure a company’s longevity, so these investments should be made with a long-term view in mind. Investing into how a business functions and markets itself will pay dividends if done wisely.

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