Accenture has retained the title of the world’s most valuable and strongest IT services brand for the third consecutive year, following a 3% uplift in brand value to a record US$26.0 billion, according to the latest report by Brand Finance, the world’s leading independent brand valuation consultancy.
In addition to measuring overall brand value, Brand Finance also evaluates the relative strength of brands, based on factors such as marketing investment, customer familiarity, staff satisfaction, and corporate reputation. Alongside revenue forecasts, brand strength is a crucial driver of brand value. According to these criteria, Accenture is also once again the strongest IT services brand in the world, with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 85.6 out of 100 and a corresponding AAA brand strength rating.
Accenture has evolved its strategy to position itself as a client transformation partner, shifting focus from pure digital and cloud services under its previous strategy. Accenture has recently launched its campaign ‘Let there be change’ – that it describes as the biggest brand change in a decade, aided by a US$90 million annual media budget, triple what it has been in previous years. The campaign positions Accenture as helping clients harness the rapid pace of change enabled by new technologies impacting companies across different sectors. Its competitors are also trying to occupy a similar positioning in the market, brands that are not just the traditional IT services companies but also the Big 4, management consultancies, and creative agencies.
Savio D’Souza, Valuation Director, Brand Finance commented:
“The global pandemic has transformed the IT services landscape, accelerating change across the sector by 3-5 years. Those brands that were able and ready to shift quickly from purely operating as service providers to consulting and transformation partners have been reaping the benefits in the face of adversity. The large contract wins for IT services brands in Europe in the last year are the start of a trend we expect to continue; our analysis suggests that the strongest brands will capture the lion’s share of this expected growth.”
TCS closes gap behind IBM
Third-ranked TCS is rapidly closing the gap with IBM following a healthy 11% brand value increase to US$15.0 billion. TCS has celebrated strong revenue growth as demand grows for its core transformation services and through winning deals - worth over US$6.8 billion in Q4 of 2020 alone. With the brand benefitting from the long cycle of technology spending in its overseas markets, and the increase in spending from the financial sector in the US and European markets as the road to recovery begins, TCS will be hoping the coming year will prove even more fruitful.
IBM retains second place, despite recording a 24% brand value loss to US$16.1 billion – the gap closing with TCS from US$7.7 billion in 2020 to a mere US$1.1 billion this year. While it is a very strong brand, it has struggled in recent years for growth. The announced spinoff is a tangible step in addressing this decline of the overall business; competitors will be eager to capture market share as IBM is likely to be distracted by its transformation program.
Infosys overtakes Cognizant
Also climbing the ranking is Infosys, following a 19% brand value increase to US$8.4 billion and thus entering the Big 4 of IT services brands globally and making it the fastest growing brand in the top 10. This growth has seen the brand overtake Cognizant, which has suffered a 6% brand value loss to US$8.0 billion.
Even before the pandemic, Infosys’s leadership recognised the importance of focusing on its service offering, including data security and cloud services. This focus, paired with key acquisitions to bolster the brand’s end-to-end customer experience offerings, has propelled Infosys to a position where it consistently wins larger consulting, data management and cloud service projects.
LTI is sector’s fastest growing
Recording an impressive 37% brand value growth to US$982 million, and claiming the position as the fastest growing brand in the Brand Finance IT Services 25 2021 ranking, is LTI. For the last five years, LTI has consistently delivered double digit growth year-on-year and shows no signs of slowing down. As a young brand, it is rising quickly within a highly competitive space, and is fast becoming one of the most exciting challenger brands within the sector.
Tech Mahindra’s 11% brand value growth to US$2.3 billion has enabled the brand to jump from 17th to 15th spot in this year’s ranking as it continues to work towards accelerated growth through building on its healthy pipeline deals and embracing new 5G opportunities.
Atos’s proposed merger with struggling DXC unlikely to revive fortunes for either player
DXC Technology is the fastest falling brand in the ranking, suffering a 39% brand value loss to US$3.6 billion, following declining revenues. Atos (brand value down 7% to US$3.3 billion) has recently bid to acquire DXC in a reported US$10 billion deal.
Atos has slipped one place in the ranking from 12th to 13th as its fails to keep pace with the market leaders for growth. Atos has M&A in its DNA, it has integrated Bull and Syntel as well as completing the bolt on acquisitions of Dutch cybersecurity firm Motiv ICT Security and US software firm Eagle Creek in recent years, with varying levels of success. The merger could propel the French giant to become one of the biggest IT companies globally by revenue with the bulk of it coming from legacy businesses, while growth is being powered by transformation projects driven by digital and cloud services. While the merger provides a path to the US market for Atos, questions remain about the logic for such a merger of two brands struggling for growth, large legacy businesses, and the ability to successfully pull off such a large merger.
One of the key trends in the IT services sector over the past decade is for brands to move up the value chain by becoming a consulting partner with a focus on innovation; this merger goes against this trend. Take IBM as an example, which is planning to transform itself by spinning off its legacy businesses.
Note to Editors
Brand value is understood as the net economic benefit that a brand owner would achieve by licensing the brand in the open market. Brand strength is the efficacy of a brand’s performance on intangible measures relative to its competitors.
Additional insights, charts, and more information about the methodology, as well as definitions of key terms are available in the Brand Finance IT Services 25 2021 report.
Data compiled for the Brand Finance rankings and reports are provided for the benefit of the media and are not to be used for any commercial or technical purpose without written permission from Brand Finance.
About Brand Finance
Brand Finance is the world’s leading brand valuation consultancy. Bridging the gap between marketing and finance, Brand Finance evaluates the strength of brands and quantifies their financial value to help organisations of all kinds make strategic decisions.
Headquartered in London, Brand Finance has offices in over 20 countries, offering services on all continents. Every year, Brand Finance conducts more than 5,000 brand valuations, supported by original market research, and publishes nearly 100 reports which rank brands across all sectors and countries.
Brand Finance is a regulated accountancy firm, leading the standardisation of the brand valuation industry. Brand Finance was the first to be certified by independent auditors as compliant with both ISO 10668 and ISO 20671, and has received the official endorsement of the Marketing Accountability Standards Board (MASB) in the United States.
Definition of Brand
Brand is defined as a marketing-related intangible asset including, but not limited to, names, terms, signs, symbols, logos, and designs, intended to identify goods, services, or entities, creating distinctive images and associations in the minds of stakeholders, thereby generating economic benefits.
Brand value refers to the present value of earnings specifically related to brand reputation. Organisations own and control these earnings by owning trademark rights.
All brand valuation methodologies are essentially trying to identify this, although the approach and assumptions differ. As a result, published brand values can be different.
These differences are similar to the way equity analysts provide business valuations that are different to one another. The only way you find out the “real” value is by looking at what people really pay.
As a result, Brand Finance always incorporates a review of what users of brands actually pay for the use of brands in the form of brand royalty agreements, which are found in more or less every sector in the world.
This is known as the “Royalty Relief” methodology and is by far the most widely used approach for brand valuations since it is grounded in reality.
It is the basis for our public rankings but we always augment it with a real understanding of people’s perceptions and their effects on demand – from our database of market research on over 3000 brands in over 30 markets.
Brand Valuation Methodology
For our rankings, Brand Finance uses the simplest method possible to help readers understand, gain trust in, and actively use brand valuations.
Brand Finance calculates the values of brands in its rankings using the Royalty Relief approach – a brand valuation method compliant with the industry standards set in ISO 10668.
Our Brand Strength Index assessment, a balanced scorecard of brand-related measures, is also compliant with international standards (ISO 20671) and operates as a predictive tool of future brand value changes and a control panel to help business improving marketing.
We do this in the following four steps:
1. Brand Impact
We review what brands already pay in royalty agreements. This is augmented by an analysis of how brands impact profitability in the sector versus generic brands.
This results in a range of possible royalties that could be charged in the sector for brands (for example a range of 0% to 2% of revenue).
2. Brand Strength
We adjust the rate higher or lower for brands by analysing Brand Strength. We analyse brand strength by looking at three core pillars: “Investment” which are activities supporting the future strength of the brand; “Equity” which are real perceptions sourced from our original market research and other data partners; “Performance” which are brand-related measures of business results, such as market share.
Each brand is assigned a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score out of 100, which feeds into the brand value calculation. Based on the score, each brand is assigned a corresponding Brand Rating up to AAA+, in a format similar to a credit rating.
3. Brand Impact x Brand Strength
The BSI score is applied to the royalty range to arrive at a royalty rate. For example, if the royalty range in a sector is 0-5% and a brand has a BSI score of 80 out of 100, then an appropriate royalty rate for the use of this brand in the given sector will be 4%.
4. Brand Value Calculation
We determine brand-specific revenues as a proportion of parent company revenues attributable to the brand in question and forecast those revenues by analysing historic revenues, equity analyst forecasts, and economic growth rates.
We then apply the royalty rate to the forecast revenues to derive brand revenues and apply the relevant valuation assumptions to arrive at a discounted, post-tax present value which equals the brand value.
Brand Finance has produced this study with an independent and unbiased analysis. The values derived and opinions presented in this study are based on publicly available information and certain assumptions that Brand Finance used where such data was deficient or unclear. Brand Finance accepts no responsibility and will not be liable in the event that the publicly available information relied upon is subsequently found to be inaccurate. The opinions and financial analysis expressed in the study are not to be construed as providing investment or business advice. Brand Finance does not intend the study to be relied upon for any reason and excludes all liability to any body, government, or organisation.
The data presented in this study form part of Brand Finance's proprietary database, are provided for the benefit of the media, and are not to be used in part or in full for any commercial or technical purpose without written permission from Brand Finance.