Louis Vuitton's Paris flagship in Place Vendome

LONDON – Digital titans Apple, Google and Amazon are the three most valuable brands in 2018, according to Interbrand, which will release its annual Best Global Brands report on Thursday.

The report pins a monetary value on a host of global brands, and also looks at how different sectors including technology, beverages, restaurants, luxury goods and automotive have performed — and behaved — over the past 12 months.

While none of the big luxury brands actually made it into the top 10 ranking, luxury and retail emerged as two dominant sectors in terms of value growth.

After a nine-year hiatus, Chanel re-entered the list at number 23, no doubt due to its decision to release financial figures for the first time in June. Chanel’s brand value is in excess of $20 billion, or about double its 2017 sales.

Gucci and Louis Vuitton, meanwhile, were among the five fastest-growing brands. Gucci’s brand value grew 30 percent compared with last year, while Louis Vuitton’s was up 23 percent. In the overall ranking, Vuitton landed at number 18, while Gucci was 39.

Interband also revealed that luxury is the new, top-growing sector in percentage terms, with 42 percent growth over the past 12 months. It replaced retail, which grew 36 percent; followed by electronics, 20 percent; sporting goods, 13 percent; and financial services, 10 percent.

The report’s 2018 theme is “Activating Brave,” with Interbrand examining the role that brand strength plays in how businesses transform themselves. The top 10 companies on the list, in addition to Apple, Google and Amazon, are Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Samsung, Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, Facebook and McDonald’s.

“A decade after the global financial crisis, the brands that are growing fastest are those that intuitively understand their customers and make brave iconic moves that delight and deliver in new ways,” said Charles Trevail, global chief executive officer of Interbrand.

The company said the combined total value of the top 100 brands crossed the $2 trillion mark for the first time, an increase of 7.7 percent from 2017.

This is the sixth consecutive year that Apple and Google have held top positions. Apple’s brand value grew by 16 percent to $214 billion, and Google’s brand value by 10 percent to $155.5 billion. Amazon achieved 56 percent growth and is the third brand to achieve a $100 billion brand valuation at $100.8 billion.

Not all the brands were winners: The brand value of Hennes & Mauritz declined 18 percent, while Facebook fell 6 percent, and Ikea 5 percent.

In putting together the ranking, Interbrand looks at the financial performance of the branded products or services, the role the brand plays in purchase decisions, the brand’s competitive strength and its ability to create loyalty and, therefore, sustainable demand and profit into the future.

In a report that will accompany the global list, Rebecca Robins, global chief learning and culture officer at Interbrand, said the luxury brands that grew the most were ones that are able to connect “the inside to the outside.”

She argued that Gucci has “sustained its pivot” through a hyper-focus on a culture of creativity and innovation, a commitment to talent and the brand’s 10-year sustainable impact plan.

Robins’ report, “Generation game-changers: Lessons from the luxury brand ecosystem,” said a key question that luxury businesses should start asking this year is: “What does the world of luxury really want to be known for?”

She added that change comes easily to the most prestigious luxury companies because they are “inherently rooted in the restlessness of their founding pioneers,” and as a result their impulse is “to do something better. We should remember that luxury brands are some of the most sustainable in the world, because they are built to last. Their craftsmanship is poised for the new economies of rental and resale, and their rarity is primed for long-term investment.”

Going forward, she said the question for these brands will be whether they are better on their own — or together.

“In Kering, LVMH, and Richemont, there are three groups with a powerful collective of brands under their aegis. Luxury brands are unique because they have written their own rules. They have the resources, influence, and ecosystem to rally together for good, and to set the bar for us all,” the report said.

Robins said she believes there is an opportunity to set “truly transformational standards, changing the game in diversity, knowledge communities, sustainability, and a greater good.” She said the eventual sea change in the industry will come from “what we do together.”

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