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BT, Burberry and the BBC Win Big in Britain’s Brand Battle

18 February 2014
This article is more than 10 years old.

The Brand Finance Global 500 is an annual study conducted by leading brand valuation consultancy Brand Finance. The world’s biggest brands are put to the test and evaluated to determine which are the strongest and most valuable.

British Brands have had a successful year of growth, none more so than BT. BT’s Brand Value is up 70% to a total of US$15.3bn (£9.3bn). Its content focused strategy, investing huge sums in Rugby and in particular Premier League football to challenge Sky, appears to be paying off. Burberry, a brand that wears its Britishness on its sleeve, has also had a good year. Its brand value now stands at US$4.2bn (£2.5bn) following 22% growth despite the departure of visionary CEO Angela Ahrendts. Even the much maligned BBC has seen is brand value rise. The Beeb now controls a US$5bn (£3bn) brand thanks to the success of its commercial wing in exporting the programmes and formats developed by Britain’s exceptional creative talent. Mini is another top performer, rising 40% to US$4.2bn (£4.6bn), showing that British brands need not necessarily be British owned to be successful.

Tui Travel is not just Britain’s biggest leisure travel company, but the most valuable travel brand worldwide. The UK listed operator, which controls the Thomson and First Choice brands, has increased its value 25% to US$3.96bn (£2.4bn). With much of Britain underwater after weeks of rain, Tui Travel can look forward to further growth this year as families rush to escape to warmer (and dryer) climes.

New entries include EE. It has spent heavily on TV advertising and event sponsorship, including the BAFTAs, to help develop its US$5.3bn (£3.2bn) brand. Despite being formed from two of the UK’s big four telecoms operators, EE is a long way off catching Vodafone, which with its global reach is the UK’s most valuable brand, worth US$29.6bn (£17.9bn).

Royal Mail is another new entry following its market debut. Controversy surrounded the IPO, not just because of the privatization of a public asset. Assertions that the government had undervalued Royal Mail seem well founded. An impressive brand value of US$5.5bn (£3.3bn) means Royal Mail has one of the highest brand value to enterprise value ratios (50%), suggesting it could be still be undervalued even now. Brand Finance Chief Executive David Haigh comments, “Royal Mail is an iconic and much loved brand thanks in part to its connection to the Monarchy, which is itself one of Britain’s most valuable brands.”

Despite frequently scathing press coverage about bonus payments, rate fixing and IT glitches, many British banks brands have had a successful year. HSBC, the UK’s most valuable bank brand has grown by US$4bn (£2.4bn). RBS group brands have not fared so well though; NatWest and RBS itself are both down this year to a total of US$3.9bn (£2.4bn).

The supermarket brand battle continues apace. Tesco’s woes continue with brand value down US$259m (£157m), while ASDA is also down. Its total now stands at US$7.84bn (£4.7bn) following a US$20m (£12m) loss. Sainsbury’s on the other hand has grown 33% suggesting Justin King will leave the brand in good shape for successor Mike Coup. King has avoided the overexpansion that has afflicted Tesco, creating a more robust brand. While Tesco’s brand strength has been downgraded from AAA- to AA this year, Sainsbury’s has achieved the reverse, going from AA+ to AAA-. Morrisons meanwhile has taken action to address its shortcomings, developing an online shopping service and expanding its network of convenience stores. As a result, brand value is up over US$1bn (£0.6bn) to US$6.4bn (£3.9bn).

Media Contacts

Penny Erricker
Communications Executive
Brand Finance

About Brand Finance

Brand Finance is the world’s leading brand valuation consultancy. Bridging the gap between marketing and finance for more than 25 years, Brand Finance evaluates the strength of brands and quantifies their financial value to help organizations 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 over 100 reports which rank brands across all sectors and countries.

Brand Finance also operates the Global Brand Equity Monitor, conducting original market research annually on over 5,000 brands, surveying more than 150,000 respondents across 38 countries and 31 industry sectors. Combining perceptual data from the Global Brand Equity Monitor with data from its valuation database enables Brand Finance to arm brand leaders with the data and analytics they need to enhance brand and business value.

Brand Finance is a regulated accountancy firm, leading the standardization 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 Strength

Brand strength is the efficacy of a brand’s performance on intangible measures relative to its competitors. Brand Finance evaluates brand strength in a process compliant with ISO 20671, looking at Marketing Investment, Stakeholder Equity, and the impact of those on Business Performance. The data used is derived from Brand Finance’s proprietary market research programme and from publicly available sources.

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.

Brand Valuation Approach

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. It involves estimating the likely future revenues that are attributable to a brand by calculating a royalty rate that would be charged for its use, to arrive at a ‘brand value’ understood as a net economic benefit that a brand owner would achieve by licensing the brand in the open market.

The steps in this process are as follows:

1 Calculate brand strength using a balanced scorecard of metrics assessing Marketing Investment, Stakeholder Equity, and Business Performance. Brand strength is expressed as a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score on a scale of 0 to 100.

2 Determine royalty range for each industry, reflecting the importance of brand to purchasing decisions. In luxury, the maximum percentage is high, while in extractive industry, where goods are often commoditised, it is lower. This is done by reviewing comparable licensing agreements sourced from Brand Finance’s extensive database.

3 Calculate royalty rate. 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 Determine brand-specific revenues by estimating a proportion of parent company revenues attributable to a brand.

5 Determine forecast revenues using a function of historic revenues, equity analyst forecasts, and economic growth rates.

6 Apply the royalty rate to the forecast revenues to derive brand revenues.

7 Discount post-tax brand revenues to a net 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.

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