SAP has topped the BrandZ ranking of German brand value for the third year in a row, and is Europe’s most valuable brand for the second time.
Repeating its 2018 and 2019 successes, SAP has once again earned top spot in the BrandZ ranking of Germany’s most valuable brands. For 2020, SAP’s brand value remained constant at $50.88 billion. The second to fourth place brands are Deutsche Telekom, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW, with the two carmakers swapping their 2019 positions in the ranking. Allianz has replaced Audi in the top 10.
The renowned BrandZ brand value ranking is compiled by UK communications services group WPP and global research agency Kantar Millward Brown. It draws on a unique combination of detailed financial analyses and data garnered from 3.7 million consumers in more than 50 countries.
Consistent Brand Message
A key finding of BrandZ’s analysis of its 2020 ranking is that strong brands are those that are particularly good at creating a lasting memory of the company’s story and its image in customers’ minds. To do that, brands must be disruptive and creative leaders in their industry and seize on innovations as they emerge.
SAP’s brand campaign “Experience Management is Here – The Future of Business Has Feelings” captures the spirit of the age. And the campaign message has hit the mark: Yet again, the company grew its brand appeal significantly, attracting approximately 24,000 new customers in 2019.
Closer to the Customer
According to Alicia Tillman, chief marketing officer of SAP, companies must now “work harder than ever before to truly understand their customers’ needs and expectations in order to deliver once-in-a-lifetime experiences. We live in an experience economy, where brands compete on the basis of experience, and SAP is leading in enabling companies to build intelligent enterprises to run at their best to win the trust of customers for life.”
What the BrandZ ranking also reveals is that strong brands are especially well-equipped to engage swiftly and smartly in growth areas — and SAP is no exception. The company has evolved consistently over recent years, from an enterprise resource planning (ERP) service provider into an end-to-end cloud provider.
That has led to a change in target audiences, as Kerstin Köder, head of Marketing for Middle and Eastern Europe at SAP, explains. “We’re no longer concentrating on IT decision-makers. Increasingly, we need to reach a company’s line-of-business decision-makers and even its users, and pitch our solutions to them. That entails a fundamentally different approach: different messages, different channels, tactics, tools, and formats — and a much greater focus on business needs than on features and functions.”
“We’re thinking more and more in terms of holistic customer journeys,” says Köder. “We’re using our own technology, Experience Management solutions, to gain the best possible understanding of target audiences and customer groups — and their touch points with SAP — and to optimize their customer experience accordingly.”
Moral Aspects Increasingly Important
That can only happen if customers fundamentally believe in a company. Christoph Prox, managing director of Kantar, says, “Today, more than ever before, customers’ choices are influenced as much by their trust in a brand as by a first-class product experience.” And this feeling of trust may well take moral aspects into account, such as whether the customer thinks a company treats its customers and employees fairly.
Once again, the extent to which a brand or company takes a stance on key issues played a central role in the BrandZ ranking in 2020. As the authors of the ranking point out, consumers of all ages attach great importance to this aspect. Notably, people over 50 are prominent among those gravitating toward brands that have a point of view on questions and trends that affect them, such as the environment and social issues.
The search for a context or central message from this year’s ranking leads rapidly to the concept of “holism.” Stefan Stumpp, CEO of Kantar, states in his editorial for the Brandz study that companies need to understand now, more than ever, that every brand is perceived today in its entirety, as the sum of all its parts.
Thus, products, product innovations, communications and touch point management, and the brand experience can no longer be viewed in isolation, but must be seen as a whole. They are intertwined and interdependent, and they have a powerful influence on brand growth and brand value.
BrandZ Top 10 Most Valuable German Brands in 2020
2020 (in US$B)
|2.||Deutsche Telekom||Telecom providers||44.880||+9%|