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Apple tops Futurebrand Index as Microsoft, Tesla and Amazon charge up list

Apple has topped the 2023 Futurebrand Index, in a tech-heavy list showing the rise of AI, electric vehicles and renewable energy, and emphasising the importance of purpose.

The annual index is a global brand perception study, reordering the largest companies in the world based on how they’re viewed, and whether their innovation is having a tangible impact on people’s lives.

The most notable risers on the list were Microsoft, Tesla, Unilever, Nestlé and Amazon, due to their competence in fulfilling more fundamental human needs amid increasing levels of global economic uncertainty, climate change, international conflicts and the rise of AI.

The Futurebrand Index’s top 20 brands, 2023 [Click to enlarge}

“For those brands that do, the possibilities are endless. Whether that means getting it right with the all-important basics for everyday experiences or making the right connection with your own people – marketers and non-marketers alike – in order to deliver those experiences across your organisation and its ecosystem of products, services and interactions.”

Tech giant Apple topped the list, while CATL, a battery manufacturing company that specialises in electric vehicle batteries, was in second place. In third was NextEra Energy, which develops renewable energy solutions – a clear importance in this year’s report.

Manufacturer TSMC was fourth thanks to the microchips it produces for everything from smartphones to AI. And in fifth was Samsung.

“Brands have never been more tangible. You can buy them, sell them, eat them, work for them, even walk inside of them and experience them every day,” added Curtis.

“Brands must be beacons of purpose-based action if they’re to play a meaningful role in people’s lives. Our survey respondents identified the most future-thinking brands as those whose clear visions of change for the better are matched by their authenticity in both words and actions.”

Futurebrand found three key insights from this year’s index:

  1. AI investment polishes brand halo: Actively investing in emerging technologies such as AI is an essential factor driving a company’s brand perceptions success. 
  2. Consumer brands make a comeback: Over the last two years, the FutureBrand Index has tracked B2B businesses as they have marched up the Top 100. But with economic and geopolitical uncertainty persisting into this year, consumer brands have leapt back up the list. There are signs that inflation-proof pricing models and commitments to speed and convenience are now more imperative than ever before. 
  3. Corporate responsibility efforts bolster brand ranking: Overall, companies that are known for trust, respect, resource management, and dedication to their mission ranked higher on the list. Companies that displayed a corporate conscience and responsible governance resonated strongly with audiences. 

Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Google were named among the most valuable companies in terms of their DE&I efforts, as well as their circular business models. Coca-Cola was also perceived as valuable for DE&I, while Tesla joined the rank for its circularity efforts.

Victoria Berry, head of strategy at Futurebrand Australia, said: “Signature moments have a pivotal role to play in turning strategy into reality, but it is equally important simply to get the basics right and do the little things well.

“This starts with having a relevant purpose that supports what people really care about today, and then making that real for them. It’s those everyday experiences that can sometimes make the biggest impact, every day,” she added.

The annual index is a global perception study based on PwC’s Top 100 Companies by Market Capitalisation list. It uses 18 experience and purpose indicators, such as consistency, resource management and trust, to determine the brand strength.

The study was conducted in partnership with FutureBrand’s global research partner QRi Consulting between 31 May and 12 June, with a survey size of over 3,000 global business professionals.

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