The Index re-orders PwC’s Global Top 100 – the largest companies in the world by market capitalisation.
It uses responses from 3,000 senior business figures across the globe to measure each firm’s ‘futureproof factor’—a signifier of how strongly they’re positioned for future success. It then produces a ranking, where brands who have the most favourable qualities stand at the top. Ideally, they should possess a balance of – people wanting to work for them buy from them and invest in them.
Aside from Walt Disney, 54 of the PWC Top 100 and 13 of the 25 most future proofed brands—US firms dominated both the list of today’s successful global companies and the list of those best positioned to succeed in the future.
Companies that blended purpose with experience were the ones that were best positioned for future success, according to the 2018 Index.
The top futureproofed brand in 2016 was Apple, which dropped to fourth in this year’s Index. Gilead Sciences, Nike, AbbVie and Nvidia are the other US companies in the top ten. Last year’s second-placed company, Microsoft, dropped 10 places to 12.
Despite the dominance of US brands, there was an increased presence of Chinese firms in the list—with six of the most futureproofed companies in the FutureBrand Index and 12 in the PWC Top 100 from the country—including Kweichow Moutai, the company that came second in this year’s list. This was an indicator of Chinese brands offering new competition to established players in the North American and European markets.
The Index also suggested that the consumers’ perception of technology companies is evolving, with the purpose behind their ground-breaking technology coming into sharper focus.
To be successful in the 2018 Index, tech sector firms must do more than come up with the latest technology – they must use it to create better products, services and experiences that improve their customer lives.
This year, almost every tech company in the Index has fallen in the rankings and have seen dramatic drops in perceptions of having a clear sense of the future (from 39% in 2014 to 34% in 2018), inspiring change for the better (from 34% in 2014 to 29% in 2018) and having strong ideas and principles (from 36% in 2014 to 31% in 2018). Despite their financial success, the tech sector has also seen falls in individual trust levels (from 35% in 2014 to 30% in 2018).
Since the first Index was published in 2014, nine companies have consistently been classed as futureproofed brands: Apple, Intel, Microsoft, Inditex, Walt Disney, AbbVie, Johnson & Johnson, Samsung, and Toyota.
Nick Sykes, President International, FutureBrand, stated: “It’s a bit of a new era marketing cliché to say that to survive, all brands must have instant appeal, and be agile and fast-moving. We say that in fact, the best-managed brands are those that combine a compelling brand experience with a clear sense of purpose and these nine, more established companies, are a good example of that.”
Sykes continued: “The FutureBrand Index is unique because it reveals the future potential of the world’s most prominent companies. It is not based on assumptions or our opinions but rather it’s a robust view of how these companies are perceived and, as ever, it’s yielded some fascinating results.
“The Index shows that the brands performing the best, irrespective of which sector they’re in or how well-established they may be, are those that consistently align the totality of the experiences they create with their wider corporate purpose.” Sykes further added.
“Comparing this year’s results to previous versions of the Index shows there’s no room for complacency. If brands lose their focus on the balance of attributes they need for future success, they quickly fall down the rankings.” Concluded Sykes.
The rankings were determined by interviewing an informed global public of around 3,000 respondents between 21-75 years of age, across both genders and all experienced business figures, civil servants, skilled professionals or small business owners.