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Toyota remains Japan’s Most Valuable Brand – 50 Most Valuable Japanese Brands Revealed

29 June 2018
This article is more than 5 years old.

· Mitsubishi, Honda follow in Toyota’s wake with strong brand value rankings while Nissan loses value

· NTT Group leads high tech sector as Japan’s second most valuable brand

· UQ Communications earns Japan’s fastest growing brand valuation

· 7-Eleven is Japan’s strongest brand

· Sony enters top ten with big improvement to brand strength and value

View the full list of Japan’s 50 most valuable brands here

Toyota’s brand value grew by 5% to ¥4.9 trillion, retaining its leadership position as Japan’s most valuable brand, according to the latest report by Brand Finance, the world’s leading independent brand valuation and strategy consultancy. In second place, NTT Group (brand value up 12% to ¥4.6 trillion) narrowed the gap behind Toyota.

While recording modest growth to remain on top of the Japanese rankings, Toyota was narrowly overtaken by Mercedes-Benz to fall from first to second amongst all global automobile brands. Globally, Toyota faces a challenging brand landscape, largely due to a weaker position in China as consumers in that market have shied away from the Japanese manufacturer in favour of more aspirational brands, such as Mercedes-Benz.

Last year, Toyota’s world-wide vehicle sales rose by almost 300,000, to just under 9 million. However, largely due to changes in currency exchange rates, Toyota’s operating income decreased by ¥859.5 billion yen. Consequently, improved marketing efforts and cost reductions allowed the brand to grow its value modestly.

David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, commented:

“Toyota remains Japan’s most valuable brand because it is trusted to deliver an affordable and high-quality product. Its customers know what Toyota stands for, which gives it great brand strength, but at the same time, it has a lot of work to be done to effectively leverage the brand in the world’s largest car market: China.”

Mitsubishi, Honda follow in Toyota’s wake with strong brand value rankings while Nissan loses value
Mitsubishi Group (brand value up 2% to ¥2.9 trillion) and Honda (brand value up 16% to ¥2.5 trillion) both reported strong brand value results, claiming third and fourth-place rankings in the Japanese brand value table. Both brands – like Toyota – have been under pressure from foreign exchange movements over the last year, and a key determinant in their short to medium-term success will be whether they are able to secure a meaningful portion of the giant Chinese car market. Another auto brand, Nissan, recorded a 13% decrease in brand value to ¥2.2 trillion and fell down to the 5th place in the league table.

NTT Group leads high tech sector as Japan’s second most valuable brand
NTT Group (brand value up 12% to ¥4.6 trillion) retained its position as Japan’s second most valuable brand, and significantly closed the gap behind Toyota. The communications firm particularly benefited from an increase in revenue from data services and its mobile communication business. This was driven by growing their mobile user base by almost 1.5 million and delivering fibre to the home services to an extra 0.5 million subscribers.

Fellow telecommunication companies SoftBank (brand value up 2% to ¥2.1 trillion) and au (brand value up 10% to ¥1.9 trillion) remained amongst the top ten most-valuable Japanese brands, with Softbank’s valuation remaining steady. The faster brand value growth by au was primarily driven by better business performance as part of the KDDI group.

UQ Communications earns Japan’s fastest growing brand valuation
In addition to au’s growth, fellow KDDI brand, UQ Communications (brand value up 168% to ¥0.4 trillion), was the fastest growing brand amongst Japan’s 50 most valuable brands. Over the last year, UQ’s number of subscribers has surged, leading to the fast valuation growth.

Nintendo (brand value up 84% to ¥0.9 trillion) was Japan’s second-fastest growing brand, with the successful launch of the Nintendo Switch product. Compared to previous Nintendo platforms, the Switch has been enjoying huge growth in online, digital download sales. The Switch represents a new idea of a gaming console that is also mobile and has enjoyed a favourable global reception.

The Nintendo Switch has made a solid start, but the coming year will be a key test for the Nintendo brand and this new product. With the novelty of initial purchases wearing off, the platform is truly put to the test as the longevity (or lack thereof) of the product becomes evident.

7-Eleven is Japan’s strongest brand
In addition to measuring overall brand value, Brand Finance also evaluates the relative strength of brands through the Brand Strength Index (BSI) – a balanced scorecard of factors including marketing investment, customer familiarity, staff satisfaction, and corporate reputation. Along with the level of revenues, brand strength is a crucial driver of brand value.

According to these criteria, with a BSI score of 85.9 out of 100 and a corresponding AAA brand rating, 7-Eleven is the strongest Japanese brand. In addition to domestic Japanese operations, the brand operates elsewhere in Asia as well as in North America, Australia, and Scandinavia. The acquisition of 1,000 Sunoco retail stores in North America over the last year has been a major factor in 7-Eleven’s 11% rise in brand strength, with their BSI score improving from 77.2 last year. The additional sites are improving convenience and accessibility amongst their key markets.

Sony enters top ten with big improvement to brand strength and value
Sony (brand value up 30% to ¥1.4 trillion) improved its brand value ranking from 12th to 10th as it grew on all key brand-related metrics. Its revenue forecasts have increased significantly, and its BSI score jumped 12% from 75.7 to 84.7 this year, improving their standing from being the 14th strongest brand in Japan in 2017 to claiming second place behind only 7-Eleven this year. This brand strength growth correlated with improved stakeholder sentiment from a focus on positive news stories at Sony, rather than the challenges that they had faced in previous years.

View the full Brand Finance Japan 50 2018 report here

Note to Editors
Every year, leading independent valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance values the world’s biggest brands. The 50 most valuable Japanese brands are included in the Brand Finance Japan 50 2018 league table.

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 assessed through a balanced scorecard of factors (such as marketing investment, stakeholder equity, and business performance) and used to determine what proportion of a business’s revenue is contributed by the brand.

Additional insights, more information about the methodology, as well as definitions of key terms are available in the Brand Finance Japan 50 2018 report.

Brand Finance helped craft the internationally recognized standard on Brand Valuation – ISO 10668, and the recently approved standard on Brand Evaluation – ISO 20671.

Data compiled for the Brand Finance league tables 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.

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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