Woolworths claims top Australian spot in most valuable global brand list

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 8th April 2009

Brand Finance, a leading independent brand valuation consultancy, has revealed their list of the 500 leading global brands, with Australia’s two largest supermarkets the only Australian brands in the food industry to make the list.

All sectors were hit in 2008 by commodity price rises, the credit crunch, rising unemployment and tumbling share prices, the consultants noted, with an overall drop in brand value across the Global 500 for the year of 24%.

The world’s most valuable brand was found to be American retailer Walmart with a brand value of US$40.6bn (A$57.3b), rising three places to replace Coca-Cola as their “Save money. Live better” slogan resonated with consumers. Coca-Cola took the second spot on the list, with other food and beverage brands to make the Top 100 including McDonald’s (12), Budweiser (19), Tesco (20), Pepsi (21), Heineken (43), Walgreens (59), Carrefour (60), Nestlé (61), Nescafé (63), Kellogg’s (71) and Sainsbury’s (97).

Australian supermarket chain Woolworths was the first locally-owned brand on the list – soaring 57 places to 143, with a brand value of US$4.638b(A$6.55b). Coles also made the Global 500, entering the list at 316 after not appearing in 2007. Their brand value stands at around A$3b.

Unsurprisingly, the US is the world’s branding powerhouse, contributing 44% of the Global 500’s total value, 29 of the Top 50 brands and the world’s six most valuable brands. Other Australian brands making the list were: all four major banks, Qantas, Telstra and BHP.

“This year’s Global 500 shows that strong branding is the key to negotiating the downturn since customers revert to brands they trust,” David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, commented. “Walmart, McDonalds and HSBC have repositioned themselves in tough markets and are reaping the rewards. Marketing departments must make the case to their Finance Directors to win the cash needed to keep their brand alive; cutting costs may not just be a blinkered short-term solution, it may be fatal in the long-term.”