This figure means that the brand’s value – a figure which Brand Finance defines as the net economic benefit that can be achieved by a brand owner by licensing its brand in the open market – has actually increased 16% since last year, when it already held the top spot.
The US sportswear label’s dominance in the rankings has been cemented over the course of the last year through a high-impact marketing strategy responsible for the likes of the brand’s controversial “Dream Crazy” advert featuring Colin Kaepernick. The repercussions of this campaign made front-page news as some US fans reacted negatively to the move but the weekend following the ad’s launch saw Nike’s sales soar.
“Nike’s bold marketing makes it stand out in a busy marketplace of sportswear apparel brands,” explained Brand Finance Managing Director Richard Haigh in a release. “In a time when customers look for experiences and emotional connection, Nike’s offering comes with unambiguous messages and values that people can rally behind.”
In second place in the consultancy’s ranking is Spanish fast-fashion retailer Zara with a value of $18.4 billion, reflecting a 6% increase which saw the brand move up one spot from its third-place position last year.
In its new position in the ranking, Zara supplants H&M which has seen a 16% decrease in its brand value since last year and has now fallen to fourth place with a total of $15.9 billion. Brand Finance attributes this reshuffle at the top of the charts to the success of Zara’s integrated store and e-commerce model, which has helped the brand gain access to 106 new national markets, while H&M has continued to struggle with increasing levels of unsold inventory.
In third place this year is Nike’s rival, German sportswear label Adidas, whose value rose an impressive 17% to reach $16.7 billion. The European label also took a chunk out of Nike’s North American market but, given the current distance between the two brands’ values, its US-based competitor seems fairly secure in its leadership.
Other big winners in this year’s top ten include Cartier – shooting into fifth place with an improvement of 39% and a brand value of $13.64 billion – and Louis Vuitton, which held onto sixth place with a value of $13.57 billion, achieved through a 29% increase.
By far the biggest gain, however, came from Uniqlo. The Japanese casual wear retailer slid into seventh place for 2019 thanks to a 48% rise in its brand value, which now totals $12.0 billion.
This progress was driven by strategic initiatives at the label, including its ongoing international expansion and its recent collaboration with tennis player Roger Federer. Moving forward, the brand has announced that it is aiming to become the largest apparel retailer in the world by 2020, principally by driving sales in the US, China and online.
Rolex’s brand value also jumped 27% to $8.0 billion dollars, securing the Swiss watch manufacturer tenth place.
The label fared even better in Brand Finance’s list of the world’s strongest brands, snatching first place with a brand strength index (BSI) of 90.0 and a rating of AAA+.
According to Brand Finance, this separate ranking calculates “the relative strength of brands through a balanced scorecard of metrics evaluating marketing investment, stakeholder equity, and business performance. Along with the level of revenues, brand strength is a crucial driver of brand value.”
Here Nike came in second with a BSI of 87.4, followed by Prada (86.6), Gucci (85.5) and Zara (85.1) in third, fourth and fifth places, respectively. All of these brands achieved an AAA rating, with only Rolex gaining a “+” for its stellar performance.
Brand Finance, which runs offices in over 20 countries, publishes its Apparel 50 report annually.