SAP has topped the BrandZ ranking 2021 and again been named Germany’s most valuable brand, for the fourth year in succession.
The prestigious BrandZ brand valuation ranking is compiled by UK communications services group WPP in conjunction with global data, insights, and consulting company Kantar Millward Brown. It draws on a unique combination of detailed financial analyses and data garnered from 3.8 million consumers in more than 50 countries.
German Brands Show Resilience Amid Pandemic
Despite the impact of COVID-19 and the threat of recession, the BrandZ top 50 most valuable German brands grew by $17.3 billion to a cumulative value of $353 billion in 2020. According to the analysts, one of the reasons that the companies included in the BrandZ ranking 2021 have escaped serious financial damage from the pandemic is the uniquely broad mix of sectors they represent, 19 in all. As such, lower demand for cars, financial products, and leisure activities was more than offset by gains in the technology, logistics, and (online) retail sectors. And their strong focus on doing business in international markets helped bolster the balance sheets of the top 50 German companies.
“The digital transformation hadn’t really picked up momentum but will now only continue to accelerate,” says Masa Schmidt, head of Marketing for Germany at SAP. “Studies show that COVID-19 has accelerated the digital communication strategies of companies in Germany by up to seven years. Customer behavior has changed irrevocably, which is why it is all the more important to develop more agile marketing strategies, question the status quo, and hone in on customer behavior. Going forward, customer journeys will increasingly involve a hybrid of online and offline touch points, but must be viewed as a single experience, and perceived as such by customers.”
“Digitalization has become key to survival in the pandemic and the acceptance of cloud technology has increased dramatically,” adds Kerstin Koeder, head of Marketing for EMEA at SAP. “However, due to the market’s pandemic-induced reluctance to invest, 2020 was a difficult year for SAP. That’s why I’m extremely happy that we’re not holding off. Instead, driven by our new strategy, we’re investing heavily in our cloud technologies, helping our customers go digital and migrate to the cloud. In doing so, we’re demonstrating that we’re not simply paying lip service to the sentiments of Customer First and Customer Success – they are our top priority. Our decision to invest sends out a clear message that we are not willing to trade customer satisfaction for increased margin and shareholder value in the short term.”
Trust and Security as Competitive Advantages in the Pandemic
Alongside their financial resilience, German brands possess another characteristic that stands them in good stead, particularly in times of crisis: they are highly regarded around the world for their focus on quality and their reliability and are traditionally seen as “helpers.” According to a further key result of the analysis, many German companies lived up to this status by fostering honest, open, respectful, and engaging relationships with their customers, thus creating a sense of trust and security among consumers.
“Especially in challenging times, the value of brands very much comes to the fore,” explains Christoph Prox, managing director of Brand, Media, & Communications at Kantar in Germany. “In times of crisis, brands are among the few things in life that provide stability, security, and reliability.”
This means that companies need to build a strong brand, which requires significant investment and long-term commitment on the part of the respective parent company.
Helping the World Run Better and Improving People’s Lives
With its “Together We Got This” and Back to Best campaigns, SAP is investing in helping companies address the huge, unexpected challenges brought about by COVID-19.
Koeder explains: “Customers have very high expectations of brands when it comes to customer experience, in particular how companies conduct their business and how socially responsible they are – especially in times like these. Using innovative SAP solutions to improve people’s lives and help the world run better was the mission of SAP’s founders from day one. It is still the company’s top priority, and it’s in our DNA. In terms of our marketing strategy, we have placed even greater focus on showing how we deliver on our purpose, and how we can help our customers and partners get through the pandemic as best they can. Our contributions include providing products free of charge, building the Corona-Warn-App, and supporting the manufacture and distribution of vaccines using our technologies. ‘Together We Got This’ and Back to Best underscore our commitment as the partner for digital transformation.”