Top brands may lose $400B in value during pandemic

Linda J. Dodson

Table of Contents

Dive Brief:

  • The most valuable brands in the U.S. this year may lose a combined $393 billion in value as the COVID-19 pandemic damages the economy, per an annual ranking by consulting firm Brand Finance. While apparel, airline, bank and hotel brands may lose 20% of their value, e-commerce, media and telecom brands have a chance to make gains as consumers rely on their services while stuck at home.
  • Airline brands are suffering the worst damage amid the significant disruptions to air travel, with Delta’s brand value down 9% to $9.2 billion, American Airlines’ down 7% to $8.9 billion and United Airlines’ down 3% to $8.2 billion.
  • Amazon’s brand value has grown 18% to $220.8 billion since last year, and is poised to gain another $4 billion this year amid a surge in online shopping. The e-commerce giant’s brand value is ranked No. 1, ahead of second-place Google at $159.7 billion, per Brand Finance.

Dive Insight:

Brand Finance’s report is a reflection of the negative effect the coronavirus pandemic is having on many industries, though there are some bright spots as the massive disruption to consumer behavior creates opportunities for brands that are well positioned to adapt to these changes.

Amazon stands out as a company whose brand value has grown amid the surge in demand for home delivery of household goods among homebound consumers. The e-commerce giant has expanded its work force by more than 100,000 people in the past two months to keep up with demand. Its biggest challenge will be to maintain a high level of customer service and delivery speed, especially for newer customers. Longer delivery times and limited product availability may hurt its long-term reputation, per Brand Finance.

Media companies also are set to boost their brand values as people rely on social networks to stay in touch with the outside world and consume more electronic entertainment while stuck at home. Facebook is the most valuable media brand, though its value slipped 4% to $79.8 billion amid the negative publicity with the Cambridge Analytica that resulted in a $5 billion fine. Facebook’s Instagram boosted its value by 58% to $26.4 billion as usage climbed and businesses adopted the platform for advertising and shopping features.

While streaming media companies have gained brand value, most traditional networks have suffered as viewers shift their habits to over-the-top (OTT) and connected TV (CTV) services. Google’s YouTube rose 17% to $44.5 billion while Netflix climbed 8% to $22.9 billion as more people watched streaming video, per Brand Finance. In contrast, Fox fell 47% to $8.4 billion, Discovery dropped 32% to $3.4 billion and TBS slipped 20% to $2.3 billion, per Brand Finance.

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