It is said that by the time they are 3-years-old, children recognize up to 66% of major brands that they are exposed to on a regular basis. Studies show they even know which logo goes with which brand (“That’s McDonald’s;” “That’s Nike”) before they can identify their own name in print. Branding is a concept that’s been around since royalty and nobility had family crests, and likely before. The visual cue is a powerful tool, a fact that people in marketing know all too well.
Each year, the Best Retail Brands report, produced with the partnership of Interbrand Design Forum, ranks the world’s top retail brands by net worth or brand value, in U.S. dollars. For the first time in 2014, Canadian brands have been ranked alongside their U.S. counterparts, producing a comprehensive list for North America. Just three Canadian brands make the top 50: Shoppers Drug Mart at No. 28, Lululemon Athletica right behind them at No. 29, and Canadian Tire at No. 38.
Many people shop online today, and retailers are, by and large, acknowledging this with their evolution, including the new idea of the virtual fitting room, where you can see a particular item of clothing on a virtual “you”! Core business models are shifting as quickly as the rest of the business world must, with the rapid-fire pace of technological advancement. There is a marked disconnect between how we shop in-store and our online shopping habits, and retailers are mounting a tactical campaign to use new sales data to meet customer needs and wants faster than ever before.
Five brands fell off the Top 50 list in 2014: Radio Shack, Anthropologie, Guess, Big Lots and Rent-A-Center. Who are the ten retail brands worth the most in 2014? Most of us have shopped at (at least) some of them.
10 Publix: $10.2 billion
9 Coach: $11.6 billion
8 eBay: $13.2 billion
7 Sam’s Club: $13.5 billion
6 Walgreens: $15.5 billion
5 CVS/pharmacy: $17.8 billion
4 Amazon: $23.6 billion
3 The Home Depot: $25.7 billion
2 Target: $27.1 billion
1 Walmart: $131.9 billion
Although last year this giant was down 6%, this largest retail brand in the entire world still holds a net worth of more than $100 billion over its closest competitor, Target. The Walton family opened their first store in 1950, but founded the corporation Walmart in 1962, the very same year as Dayton’s first Target stores opened - founder Sam Walton must have done things more efficiently, or must have given back much less. Either way, this family’s success outstrips not just the Target brand, but every other top retailer in the world. With a reputation quite the opposite of Target’s in terms of ethics, is the message here that nice guys do finish last? Perhaps so; for the first time ever in an annual report, Walmart made the news by admitting much of their losses last year were due to a decrease in government food supplement assistance given to impoverished Americans (and paid by citizen tax dollars). This facts illuminates how the store relies on selling to the poor as well as on (indirect) government funding.
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