Global 500 2022 | The Annual Brand Value Ranking | Brandirectory (2022)

TikTok Named World’s Fastest-Growing Brand as New Media Surge

  • Apple holds on to world’s most valuable brand title with record valuation at more than US$355 billion, followed by Amazon and Google
  • New entrant TikTok named world’s fastest-growing brand, up 215%, leading global revolution in media consumption
  • Tech remains most valuable industry, while second-ranked retail crosses US$1 trillion mark following 46% brand value growth during COVID-19 pandemic
  • Development of COVID-19 vaccines sees pharma named fastest-growing industry, while tourism sector remains below pre-pandemic valuation
  • US and China continue to dominate claiming 2/3 of brand value in ranking, while India sees fastest-growth over course of pandemic among top nations, up 42%
  • WeChat named world’s strongest brand for second consecutive year with top score of 93.3 out of 100 and elite AAA+ rating
  • Microsoft’s Satya Nadella comes out top in Brand Finance Brand Guardianship Index 2022 of world’s top 250 CEOs

Apple holds on to top spot with record valuation

Apple has retained the title of the world’s most valuable brand following a 35% increase to US$355.1 billion – the highest brand value ever recorded in the Brand Finance Global 500 ranking.

Apple had a stellar 2021, highlighted by its achievement at the start of 2022 – being the first company to reach a US$3 trillion market valuation. The tech giant’s success historically lied in honing its core brand positioning, but its more recent growth can be attributed to the company’s recognition that its brand can be applied effectively to a much broader range of services.

The iPhone still accounts for around half of the brand’s sales. However, this year saw Apple give more attention to its other suite of products with a new generation of iPads, an overhaul to the iMac, and introduction of AirTags. Its range of services, from Apple Pay to Apple TV, has also gone from strength to strength and become of increasing importance to the brand’s success.

Additionally, Apple knows the importance of being in tune with its customers for maintaining brand equity. Privacy and the environment are salient topics, and Apple bolstered its credentials on both fronts. This is evidenced by a greater transparency of the App Store’s privacy policy, reinforcing the trust customers have in the brand, and the announcement that more of Apple’s manufacturing partners will be moving to 100% renewable energy, as the company aims to reach carbon neutrality by 2030.

Apple commands an amazing level of brand loyalty, largely thanks to its reputation for quality and innovation. Decades of hard work put into perfecting the brand have seen Apple become a cultural phenomenon, which allows it to not only compete, but thrive in a huge number of markets. With rumours abounding of its foray into electric vehicles and virtual reality, it seems it is ready for a new leap.

David Haigh, Chairman & CEO of Brand Finance

Amazon and Google also saw good levels of growth, both keeping their spots in the Brand Finance Global 500 ranking behind Apple in 2nd and 3rd respectively. Amazon joined Apple in crossing the US$300 billion brand value mark with a 38% increase to US$350.3 billion, navigating global supply chain issues and a labour shortage in the process. Since June 2021, it has hired 133,00 new employees and recently announced plans to hire a further 125,000 hourly workers in anticipation of continued growth.

Amazon sees logistics as key, developing its own end-to-end supply chain through a growing fleet of trucks, vans, and aeroplanes. Across 2020 and 2021, the brand has invested an estimated US$80 billion in its logistics division, compared to a combined US$58 billion in the previous five years.

Google saw a similar brand value growth of 38% to US$263.4 billion. The brand relies on advertising for the vast majority of its revenue, and was hurt at the start of the pandemic as advertising spend dropped due to uncertainty. However, as the world adjusted to the new normal, and with people spending more and more time online, advertising budgets opened back up and Google’s business rebounded, resulting in a healthy uplift in brand value.

TikTok is world’s fastest-growing brand, leading media revolution

Tripling in brand value over the past year, TikTok is the world’s fastest-growing brand. With an astounding 215% growth, the entertainment app’s brand value has increased from US$18.7 billion in 2021 to US$59.0 billion this year. Claiming 18th spot among the world’s top 500 most valuable brands, it is the highest new entrant to the Brand Finance Global 500 2022 ranking.

With COVID-19 restrictions still in effect across the globe throughout 2021, digital entertainment, social media, and streaming services saw continued growth, and TikTok’s rise is testament to how media consumption is changing. With its offering of easily digestible and entertaining content, the app’s popularity spread across the globe, however, it also acted as a creative outlet and provided a way for people to connect during lockdown.

At the same time, strategic partnerships, such as its sponsorship of the UEFA Euro 2020 tournament, exposed TikTok to demographics outside of its original Gen Z base. It crossed the one billion user mark in 2021 and became the most downloaded app across Android’s Google Play store and Apple’s App Store.

Media consumption has increased throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, but – what is more – the way we consume it has irrevocably changed. In order to compete in this evolving marketplace, media organisations have invested heavily in their brands – from content acquisition through to user experience. TikTok’s meteoric growth is the proof in the pudding – the brand has gone from relative obscurity to internationally renowned in just a few years and shows no signs of slowing down.

David Haigh, Chairman & CEO of Brand Finance

Overall, media brands account for the top 3 fastest-growing brands in the ranking – with another social media app Snapchat (brand value up 184% to US$6.6 billion) and South Korean internet brand Kakao (brand value up 161% to US$4.7 billion) following closely behind TikTok. Snapchat saw increased daily usage and revenues grow by 77% in the first 9 months of 2021, with the popularity of its short-form video feature, Spotlight, being a key driver.

Other notable performers from the media sector include those that offer streaming services, with Disney (brand value up 11% to US$57.0 billion), Netflix (brand value up 18% US$29.4 billion), YouTube (brand value up 38% to US$23.9 billion), and Spotify (brand value up 13% to US$6.3 billion) all seeing increases.

In stark contrast, traditional media brands have seen a continued decline, with people favouring social media platforms and on-demand streaming in their place. Warner Bros is among the fastest-falling brands in the ranking this year (brand value down 33% to US$6.8 billion), and this trend is even more apparent when comparing this year with pre-pandemic valuations. Looking at brand value change over the last two years of COVID-19, three media brands feature among the five fastest-falling brands – Warner Bros saw the biggest brand value loss at 40%, with NBC (brand value US$9.4 billion) and CBS (brand value US$7.4 billion) seeing losses of 38% and 36% respectively.

Tech remains most valuable industry

The tech sector is once again the most valuable in the Brand Finance Global 500 ranking, with a cumulative brand value of close to US$1.3 trillion. Technology and tech brands have become of ever-increasing importance in the modern world, a trend that has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In total, 50 tech brands feature in the ranking, however, the brand value is largely attributable to three big players, with Apple, Microsoft (brand value US$184.2 billion), and Samsung Group (brand value US$107.3 billion) together accounting for more than 50% of the total brand value in the sector.

Closely behind them, Huawei managed to reclaim its place among the top 10 most valuable brands in the world, following 29% growth to US$71.2 billion. Huawei’s smartphone business was hit hard by US sanctions, but it reacted positively by heavily stepping up investment in both domestic technology companies and R&D, as well as turning its focus to cloud services.

The tech sector is also home to two of the five fastest-growing brands in the ranking, with semiconductor brands AMD (brand value up 122% to US$6.0 billion) and Nvidia (brand value up 100% to US$16.0 billion) both seeing notable growth. A rise in gaming, cryptocurrency mining, and artificial intelligence, coupled with the global chip supply shortage, saw demand for both brands’ products remain high throughout the year, leading to increased revenues.

Retail continues to thrive

The retail sector has cemented its position as the second most valuable in the Brand Finance Global 500 ranking, crossing the US$1 trillion mark for the first time.

Prior to the pandemic, retail was the third most valuable sector behind banking, but a boom in e-commerce has seen it pull away whilst banking has remained stagnant. Over the course of the pandemic, retail has been the fastest-growing large industry in the Brand Finance Global 500 ranking, with a brand value increase of 46% – outpacing the tech and media sectors which grew by 42% and 33% respectively.

This year, one of the sector’s top performers, Walmart, continued to see brand value growth and reclaimed its spot in the top 5, with the retailer climbing from 6th to 5th following a 20% increase in brand value to US$111.9 billion.

Walmart already had a top-tier physical presence, and at the start of the pandemic it invested in its e-commerce capabilities – which has continued to pay dividends. It expanded the use of technology to pick and pack customers’ online grocery orders in anticipation of the demand for pickup and delivery to continue past the pandemic.

Retail also saw the most new entrants in the ranking this year at nine brands, meaning almost one in four new entrants have come from the sector. The majority of the new retail brands are supermarkets – many of which adapted to the new normal by making themselves more accessible through online shopping and click and collect. Germany’s Edeka is the highest ranked of the nine, entering the ranking at 340th place with a brand value of US$6.5 billion.

The initial impression of lockdown may have been that retail would suffer, but those that have shown the agility to adapt and utilise technology have impressed with solid gains. The transformation of the industry to meet its customers’ evolving needs has sown the seeds for both short- and long-term prosperity.

David Haigh, Chairman & CEO of Brand Finance

The largest retail brand behind Amazon and Walmart, Home Depot performed strongly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and continued to see positive brand value growth this year, up 6% to US$56.3 billion. The brand saw an uplift in revenue when COVID-19 restrictions were introduced, with people spending more on home improvement. However, as the economy opened back up and restrictions eased, Home Depot saw its year-on-year revenue growth slow in 2021, suggesting this trend is unlikely to continue.

Despite the success for the sector overall, retail is also home to the fastest-falling brand in the ranking. Alibaba.com bucked the trend with a 42% brand value decrease to US$22.8 billion. The brand was accused of abusing its market dominance by forbidding merchants from using other e-commerce sites, and subsequent regulatory changes saw it face increased competition, which led to slower growth and a downturn in fortune.

Pharma brands see healthy growth

Pharma brands have been in the limelight since the start of the pandemic as the world turned to the sector for COVID-19 tests and vaccines. As a result, unsurprisingly, the sector has seen faster growth in the Brand Finance Global 500 over the last two years than any other sector. The number of pharma brands in the ranking has doubled from four to eight, with brand value increasing by 94% to US$54.0 billion.

All eight brands featured are more valuable than they were in 2020, with those that produced COVID-19 vaccinations seeing the biggest increases. Johnson & Johnson remains the most valuable, with a 24% brand value increase to US$13.4 billion. New entrant to the ranking AstraZeneca secured the title of the sector’s fastest-growing, with a remarkable 77% rise in brand value to US$5.6 billion, followed by Pfizer as the second fastest-growing at 58%, pushing its brand value to US$6.3 billion.

The production of effective vaccines has been integral to getting the global economy back on its feet. This has resulted in not only an increase in revenues, but also improved global awareness and reputation for brands in the pharmaceutical industry, which raises interesting questions about their potential applicability in adjacent sectors.

David Haigh, CEO & Chairman, Brand Finance

Looking to the future, a major brand evolution is expected in the sector due to the trend of separating pharmaceutical and consumer health divisions, as Johnson & Johnson and GlaxoSmithKline are currently doing. Understanding the strengths and value of each part of the brand will be key to ensuring the retention of the considerable brand equity that has been built up in the combined business.

Tourism brands show signs of recovery

The brand value of the tourism industry overall is still down when compared to pre-pandemic valuations, hampered by the number of brands featured in the Brand Finance Global 500 falling from 15 to 9. However, in a promising sign of recovery, all of the brands from the industry that do appear in this year’s ranking have seen positive brand value growth.

The hotel sector recorded the fastest level of growth, with the two brands in the ranking, Hilton (up 58% to US$12.0 billion) and Hyatt (up 26% to US$5.9 billion), now being more valuable than they were pre-pandemic. As lockdown rules eased, the sector was boosted by an increase in staycations and leisure travel, and to a lesser extent the partial return of business travel. At the same time, both have continued to invest in their brands, with Hyatt completing the takeover of Apple Leisure Group and Hilton opening 96 hotels in Q3 2021.

Airline brands Delta (US$7.3 billion), American Airlines (US$6.3 billion), United Airlines (US$5.5 billion), Emirates (US$5.0 billion), and new entrant Southwest Airlines (US$4.9 billion) all saw an uptick in brand value as international and domestic travel increased, though none recovered to their pre-pandemic level yet. The story is similar for online booking platform booking.com (US$8.7 billion) and car rental firm Enterprise (US$7.1 billion).

It is a promising sign to see recovery in the tourism sector despite intermittent restrictions still in place across the world. The bounce-back was no doubt hindered by variant outbreaks, however, as the world adjusts to living with COVID-19, there is no reason the tourism industry cannot take flight once again.

David Haigh, CEO & Chairman, Brand Finance

US and China still dominate

Breaking the results down to country level, brands from the United States and China continue to dominate the Brand Finance Global 500. Over two-thirds of the total brand value in the ranking is attributable to the two countries, with the US accounting for 49% (US$3.9 trillion) and China for 19% (US$1.6 trillion).

The struggles present in the real estate sector have somewhat slowed down China’s brand value growth. Out of the top 10 fastest-falling brands in the ranking, six are Chinese real estate companies, while Evergrande has dropped out of the Brand Finance Global 500 altogether.

At the same time, Chinese automobile brands have made great strides and bucked the global trend of negative growth in the sector. BYD (brand value US$6.4 billion) is the fastest-growing brand in the sector with a 100% brand value increase. The brand specialises in electric vehicles, a rapidly growing market in China, and saw sales accelerating 232% in 2021 with almost 600,000 sold. Haval (brand value US$6.1 billion) is the sector’s second-fastest growing at 55%.

WeChat retains world’s strongest brand title

Apart from calculating brand value, Brand Finance also determines the relative strength of brands through a balanced scorecard of metrics evaluating marketing investment, stakeholder equity, and business performance. Certified by ISO 20671, Brand Finance’s assessment of stakeholder equity incorporates original market research data from around 100,000 respondents in over 35 countries and across nearly 30 sectors.

According to these criteria, WeChat remains the world’s strongest brand, retaining the title for the second consecutive year, with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 93.3 out of 100 and a corresponding AAA+ rating.

WeChat plays an integral part in day-to-day life in China, with its all-encompassing set of services allowing customers to message, video call, order food, and shop. It also played an integral part in the country’s fight against COVID-19, with more than 700 million people using its services to book vaccinations and tests. The app’s entrenchment in people’s lives helps it achieve strong scores in reputation and consideration among Chinese consumers, according to Brand Finance’s research.

In line with the trend seen in the brand value ranking, four out of the top 5 strongest brands now come from the media sector, compared to only two before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The supremacy of media brands in the brand strength ranking signals a change in the brand landscape and reflects the importance the sector has in everyday life.

Joining WeChat at the top of the ranking is Google, climbing from 39th to 3rd with an impressive BSI score of 93.3, followed closely by its Alphabet stablemate YouTube, which rose from 27th to 4th with a BSI score of 93.2. South Korean brand Naver rounds off the media brands in the top 5, jumping a remarkable 99 places to 5th with a BSI score 92.5.

REGIONAL ANALYSIS

Americas

While Apple is the most valuable brand in the Americas, Coca-Cola remains the region’s strongest with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 93.3 out of 100 and a corresponding elite AAA+ rating. The brand also ranks second globally, behind the Chinese internet giant – WeChat.

While continuing to offer its well-loved core product, the brand is investing in lower sugar variants such as Coke Zero to cater to changing consumer needs. At the same time, Coca-Cola has made a strategic decision to leverage e-commerce to ensure brand availability in the era of interrupted supply chains.

A digital advertisement campaign focusing on celebration of life and shared experiences – ‘Together Tastes Better’ – was launched at the height of the pandemic to promote home consumption of Coca-Cola beverages. This has been supported by the development of the myCoke mobile application and myCoke digital wallet, which enable online orders and delivery of Coca Cola products.

Corona (up 21% to US$7.0 billion) remains the most valuable brand in Latin America for the fourth consecutive year. The popular Mexican beer brand has continued to make headway with its sustainability initiatives, achieving a net-zero plastic footprint in 2021, as it now recovers more plastic from the environment than it generates. The brand has also continued to diversify its products, launching a non-alcoholic alternative and the first beer to contain Vitamin D.

However, the pandemic’s effects on Corona have not been insignificant, as the brand’s name’s similarity to coronavirus created negative associations at the beginning of the pandemic. Having recovered its reputation in 2021, Corona has now been impacted by logistical complications, announcing the need to raise its prices in the coming year.

Europe

Two German brands – automotive powerhouse Mercedes-Benz and telecommunications provider Deutsche Telekom – go head-to-head for the highest brand value on the old continent. With a valuation of US$60.7 billion, Mercedes-Benz is yet again the most valuable brand in Europe, followed very closely by Deutsche Telekom, at US$60.1 billion.

The automotive sector witnessed a decrease in sales due to pandemic-induced demand drop and supply chain issues. However, as the year progressed, the auto brands were able to increase performance with new launches and partnerships. In 2021, Mercedes-Benz launched the sixth generation of the C-class series with a new interior design and is planning to implement autonomous driving features. At the same time, an industry-wide trend to make a transition to electric vehicles and a sustainable approach to production and distribution is on the rise. Mercedes-Benz confirmed that their electric vehicles sales saw a 90% increase this year.

Deutsche Telekom connected 1.2 million new homes with fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) networks in 2021, with a further 2 million scheduled for 2022. The focus is on rolling out strong optical fibre connections in areas that lack coverage.

The telecoms giant is also investing in digital technologies – from SignalWire which specialises in software telecommunications infrastructure integrating video, voice, and messaging in one platform, to the public blockchain framework, Polkadot, created by the co-founder of cryptocurrency Ethereum.

However, the strongest brand in Europe is Sber with a BSI score of 92.3 out of 100 and a corresponding AAA+ rating. Overtaking Ferrari, Sber’s brand strength has increased this year a further +0.3 while the Italian automotive icon’s fell by -3.0.

The Russian banking and technology giant has recently launched new digital investor services such as portfolio selection and investment consulting on its mobile application. At the same time, Sber is continuing to develop a digital ecosystem for its variety of services that go beyond banking, now ranging from e-commerce and logistics, to telehealth and streaming. While relying on an impressive consumer base of 100 million, Sber is aiming to diversify further into a new demographic of Gen Z users with a new entertainment and gaming offering.

Middle East & Africa

Oil and gas giant Aramco has once again been crowned the region’s most valuable brand, with a brand value of US$43.6 billion – a 16% year-on-year increase. Following a difficult period for the sector at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, oil prices rebounded in 2021, buoyed by the natural gas crisis that saw businesses turn to crude products.

The increase in demand saw Aramco’s third-quarter profits more than triple year-on-year, helping push its market valuation to US$2 trillion. In a sign of confidence and ambition for continued growth, Aramco announced plans to increase its production capacity from 12 million barrels a day to 13 million by 2027. The company has continued to invest heavily in its brand to support growth in both core and growth businesses through a global campaign as well as investments in sports – from Formula 1 to golf.

Fellow oil and gas brand, the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), achieved an even more impressive 19% brand value growth to US$12.8 billion, the fastest amongst the top 10 oil and gas brands globally, which sees it hold on to its position as the 2nd most valuable brand in the region. ADNOC is one of a handful of brands in the sector to see its BSI score rise by +2.0 points, evidenced by its stellar reputation and trust amongst international investors and stakeholders.

Following an increase of its national reserves by 4 billion barrels of oil and 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, ADNOC announced an increase of US$5 billion to its capital expenditure to US$127 billion, and plans to boost its upstream production and downstream portfolio. However, with an eye on the future, and in line with the UAE leadership’s 2050 net zero strategy, ADNOC is also continuing its commitment to energy transition. In addition to a joint venture with TAQA and Mubadala focusing on renewable energy, it also announced plans to build a blue ammonia project.

Etisalat is the region’s strongest brand for the second consecutive year with a score of 89.2 out of 100 and a corresponding AAA rating. Expo 2020 has offered Etisalat the platform to demonstrate itself as a strategic enabler of the UAE's digital transformation. This opportunity assisted in increasing its BSI score by +1.8 points, breaking into the top 20 strongest brands globally, claiming 18th place, as well as making it the strongest telecoms brand globally.

In addition to the strong BSI performance, Etisalat, which boasts the most valuable telecoms brand portfolio in the Middle East, saw its brand value increase from US$8.5 billion to US$10.1 billion, pushing it into the top 200 of the Brand Finance Global 500 ranking this year.

Guided by the vision to ‘drive the digital future’, Etisalat’s brand focuses on togetherness and plays its part by providing a first-class telecoms infrastructure across the UAE. With the successful roll out of 5G technology across its commercial network, the brand was named the world’s fastest mobile network for the second year running, and is well-positioned for further growth.

David Haigh, CEO & Chairman, Brand Finance

A fellow telecoms brand, stc continued to see good growth this year, with its brand value increasing by 16% to US$10.6 billion. Over the course of the pandemic, stc has been the fastest-growing brand in the region in the Brand Finance Global 500, with a brand value increase of 32% over the last two years – with its successful rebrand playing a key role. The strong results come off the back of the brand continuing to invest and diversify. This year it announced it would be investing US$400 million to build the region’s largest cloud-enabled data centre, and saw its subsidiary STC Pay awarded one of the first digital banking licenses in Saudi Arabia.

There are still no African brands in the ranking as global brands continue to dominate on the continent. MTN is Africa’s most valuable brand at US$4.0 billion – just over US$600 million below the threshold of the Brand Finance Global 500 ranking this year.

Asia-Pacific

South Korea-based Samsung Group’s brand value stands at US$107.3 billion in 2022, a 5% increase from last year, which has allowed it to defend its long-time position as the most valuable brand in Asia-Pacific, although it fell down to 6th in the global ranking, overtaken by Walmart. WeChat remains the region’s as well as the world’s strongest brand.

Samsung’s revenues have increased as a result of new product launches. Amidst a global supply chain crisis and high demand for memory chips, the brand has outperformed its competitors with high revenues in their chip manufacturing business. Furthermore, to meet consumer demand, Samsung is setting up a new computer chip plant in Texas worth US$17 billion. The tech giant has expanded its electronics offering too, with a new range of portable devices as well as kitchen and home appliances.

At the same time, Samsung has launched new initiatives to join in the global efforts of climate action. Most recently, the brand has formed a partnership with Patagonia to reduce the impact of ocean pollution created by microplastics.

Looking at particular sub-regions within Asia-Pacific, Tata Group is the most valuable brand in South Asia and India’s only entry in the top 100, with a brand value of US$23.9 billion, following an impressive 12% increase from the previous year. In addition, Chairman of Tata Sons, Natarajan Chandrasekaran, ranks as the top CEO in India and stands at 25thposition globally in the Brand Guardianship Index 2022.

The performance of Tata Group exceeded expectations in 2021, thanks to a number of new acquisitions and partnerships and as key group companies – from Tata Consultancy Services to Tata Steel – witnessed major growth. The market capitalisation of Tata Group’s 20 listed subsidiaries has exceeded that of 70 listed central public sector undertakings (CPSUs) in India.

Additionally, the Tata Group will be sponsoring the star-studded cricket tournament Indian Premier League (IPL). The partnership comes just as Tata is inching towards the launch of its ‘super app’ TataNeu, which will consolidate all of Tata’s consumer-facing businesses. The mobile application will serve as a digital ecosystem for all of Tata’s service offerings including retail, groceries, travel, hospitality, and digital payments.

Malaysian oil and gas brand Petronas ranks as most valuable in Southeast Asia, with a brand value of US$13.6 billion, which is 13% higher than the previous year. Energy demand is rising as the economy recovers from the impact of the pandemic, which has allowed Petronas to bounce back this year from the challenges that the oil and gas industry had to face in 2020.

The brand is investing in clean and sustainable energy to expand its offering and sustain brand value growth in the long term. It has recently acquired Amplus Energy Solutions, with its key operations in solar energy across Asia and the Middle East, while the Petronas Hydrogen division is to supply sustainable fuel for heating and mobility. With the introduction of these and similar sustainability initiatives, Petronas plans to become carbon neutral by 2050.

Woolworths has maintained its spot as the most valuable brand in Australia and the wider region of Oceania for the third consecutive year, following a 9% boost to its brand value to reach US$10.2 billion. Holding a 33% market share, Woolworths is Australia’s biggest supermarket chain and has been pivotal in keeping the supply chain going throughout the pandemic. Over the last year, the brand has demonstrated an ability to adapt to the shifting retail landscape, expanding its online capability to better serve its strong customer base. The brand’s strong reputation, loyal customers, and lower risk over the last year helped to navigate any potentially detrimental effects to its brand value caused by Endeavour Group’s demerger, of which Woolworths owned 15%.

Brand Guardianship Index

The Brand Finance Brand Guardianship Index has been expanded and now ranks the world’s top 250 CEOs. This year’s top brand guardian is Microsoft’s Satya Nadella. Mr Nadella, who also became Chairman this year, has been credited with overhauling Microsoft’s fortunes by changing its culture towards one of teamwork, innovation, and inclusivity, and instilling a growth mindset throughout the business. This transformation has carried through to the brand’s organisational purpose, which now focuses on empowerment.

The top 10 of the ranking is dominated by brand guardians from the tech and media sectors. Tech boasts the majority with six featuring, which signals the important role that brands from the sector have played in supporting business evolution throughout the pandemic. Tim Cook sits in a well-earned 2nd place, having overseen Apple’s record-breaking year, which saw it become the first company to achieve a US$3 trillion market valuation. Mr Cook is joined by the brand guardians of a number of household brand names, with Tencent’s Huateng Ma (4th), Google’s Sundar Pichai (5th), and Netflix’s Reed Hastings (7th) all featuring at the top of the ranking.

AMD CEO Lisa Su is a new entrant in 10th place, making her the highest-ranked female in the Brand Guardianship Index 2022. Ms Su newly qualifies for the ranking as AMD has propelled into the Brand Finance Global 500 2022 after an impressive 122% brand value growth over the past year. AMD has undergone an impressive evolution in the capable hands of Ms Su, who steered the company through a global chip shortage during the pandemic and came out the other side boasting record revenues.

Ms Su’s leadership of a tech company is unfortunately a rarity, with most being run by male CEOs. This is reflected in the ranking, as the rise in the number of tech brands has come hand in hand with a decrease in the number of female CEOs in the top 100 – from eight in 2021 to five this year. With diversity and inclusion becoming ever-increasingly important to society as a whole, we hope to see the promotion of female leadership in the C-suite in the future.

Ultimately, the role of a brand guardian is to build brand and business value. Our ranking recognises those who are building business value in a sustainable manner, by balancing the needs of all stakeholders – employees, investors, and the wider society. More and more, the CEOs ranked in the Brand Guardianship Index must work in partnership to build a sustainable future, redefining the role of a CEO from ultra-competitive entrepreneur to collaborative diplomat.

At a country level, the Brand Guardianship Index 2022 mirrors the Brand Finance Global 500 2022 ranking, with the US and China leading the way. There are 101 CEOs from the US, which represents 40% of the index, and 47 from China, which represents 19%.

The brand guardians from these two countries head up a number of key sectors: Jianjun Wei of Great Wall in Automobiles (3rd), Patricia Griffith of Progressive in Insurance (11th), Xiongjun Ding of Moutai in Spirits (12th), Baoan Xin of State Grid in Utilities (13th), Punit Renjen of Deloitte in Commercial Services (14th), Brian Moynihan of Bank of America in Banking (16th), Ramon Laguarta of Pepsi in Soft Drinks (17th), Andy Jassy of Amazon in Retail (23rd), and Gang Pan of Yili in Food (36th).

The highest-ranked CEO outside of the US and China monopoly is the ADNOC brand guardian H.E. Dr Sultan Al Jaber. 15th in the ranking, he is also the top-scoring leader in the oil and gas sector. Aside from his role at ADNOC, Dr Sultan holds senior positions within the UAE government, and is a key figure in promoting the diversification and growth of the UAE economy.

Overall, the UAE punches well above its weight in the Brand Guardianship Index 2022. The CEOs of the three UAE brands from the Brand Finance Global 500 2022 ranking all feature and record higher scores than last year, with Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum of Emirates (34th) and Etisalat’s Hatem Dowidar (79th) joining Dr Sultan in the top 100.

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