Rated Ranking: FutureBrand Index 2015

FutureBrand Index 2015


The “FutureBrand Index”, provided by the brand consultancy FutureBrand, is based on the assumption that there is a difference between perception and financial performance of companies. To confirm this assumption, 3,004 members of the “informed public” – i.e. people in professional jobs, including top leaders and managers – in 17 countries around the world (among them the US, Germany, UK, France, Japan, China and South Africa) were asked to rate the global top 100 companies by market capitalization on 18 attributes, e.g. “Trust”, “Respect”, “Authenticity”, “Personality” and “Innovation”. To avoid a bias for the well-known consumer brands over the less known B2B brands, only respondents were surveyed that are aware of the companies in question.

Unsurprisingly, FutureBrand’s results confirm that financial value and past performance are no guarantees for being perceived as highly reputable brands. Furthermore, the consultancy firm claims that they “also demonstrate that organizations with the strongest perceptions by our measures have a quantifiable competitive advantage and are more ‘future proof’ than their peers”.

Although Apple – according to PWC Global Top 100 Comopanies by market capitalisation – is the most valuable company in the world by financial measures, Google makes it to the top of the FutureBrand Index for the second year in a row. This year, Apple did move up a few spots to take the number two slot, coming in the strongest in the trust category. Biopharmaceutical giant Abbvie, whose products include drugs for cancer and age-related disorders, leaped into the top five from last year’s 20th spot.

In general, compared to previous years, tech companies are still strong, with Microsoft and Samsung also making it into the top ten. But healthcare companies have moved up the charts: Three health-related companies in the top 10, including Abbvie, Gilead, and Celgene. According to an accompanying article of “Fast Company”, this is “in line with the emerging theme of companies that help humans fulfill their potential being more heavily rewarded in the 21st century. An aging population in the U.S., Japan, and several other major developed economies may also play a role”.

Summarizing, “FutureBrand Index” is a useful ranking with some methodological flaws. For example, it is questionable whether the 18 dimensions used to define the best “future brands” are appropriate. Overlaps in the connotations of the above mentioned dimensions “respect”, “trust” and “authenticity” raise some doubts. Unfortunately, FutureBrand does not reveal the questions behind their 18 dimensions. Due to the fact that the survey was answered by one – albeit important – stakeholder group, the informed public, it cannot be said that the results are representative for the entire societies and all key stakeholder groups in the countries surveyed.

On the other hand, the ranking should be applauded for its relative large sample (3’000 respondents) in 17 important markets. It is also a great service that all companies listed can be compared versus peers in all dimensions surveyed in an interactive radar map. And comparisons and developments over time are also possible. The Top 100 list is accessible here.

Relevance / Impact
– 11 points –
Added Value / Insights
– 13 points –

Trustworthiness / Intention
– 9 points –
– 9 points –

Aggregated points
– 42 (out of 60) –
Highly valuable ranking

Useful ranking with some flaws

Partially useful ranking with considerable flaws

< 30
Useless ranking

Reach of publication:

  • Global, e.g. North America, Europe and Asia (5 points)
  • Regional, e.g. Europe or North America (3 points)
  • Large national market: e.g. US, China, Japan, Germany, France, UK, Italy, Brazil (2 points)
  • Mid-sized or small market, e.g. Switzerland, Netherlands, Argentina, Singapore (1 point)

Ranking will be recognized by key stakeholders:

  • Opinion Leaders (Politicians, Professors; NGO’s) (2 points)
  • Business Advisory Board, C-Level Executives (CEO, CCO, CFO, CMO) (2 points)
  • High Potentials & Top Talents (employer market, students) (2 points)
  • Financial Market (2 points)
  • General Public (2 points)

Aggregated points: 11 (of max. 15)

Is the owner providing the ranking a credible and trustworthy organization?

  • Ranking owner has limited credibility and reputation. (1 point)
  • Ranking owner has fair credibility and reputation. (3 points)
  • Ranking owner has excellent credibility and reputation. (5 points)

What is the ranking owner’s intention to produce and disseminate the ranking?

  • Ranking is predominantly a tool to raise awareness for the owner with the possible intention to sell consultancy services. (1 point)
  • Ranking is partly a tool to raise awareness for the owner with the possible intention to sell consultancy services. (3 points)
  • Ranking is predominantly a tool to surface and share important insights on the subject surveyed. (5 points)

Is/Are the media outlet(s) where the ranking is published of high credibility and reputation?

  • Media outlet(s) has/have limited credibility and reputation. (1 point)
  • Media outlet(s) has/have fair credibility and reputation. (3 points)
  • Media outlet(s) has/have excellent credibility and reputation. (5 points)

Comment: Fast Company is the only opinion leader media publishing the ranking.

Aggregated points: 9 (of max. 15)

Do the ranking results provide overall orientation where companies stand?

  • limited orientation only (1 point)
  • fair orientation provided (3 points)
  • very good orientation (5 points)

Is the Ranking published in the same format on a regular basis, e.g. annually, which allows to track developments and comparisons over time?

  • ranking is published for the first time (1 point)
  • ranking is published for the second time in the same format (3 points)
  • ranking is published for more than 3 times on a regular basis in the same format (5 points)

Do the ranking results provide added value and further insights on how companies are evaluated in in their industry, e.g. detailed ratings in various sub-dimensions of the overall result?

  • limited added value only (1 point)
  • fair amount of added value (3 points)
  • high amount of added value (5 points)

Comment: All companies in the ranking can be compared in all dimensions surveyed in an interactive radar map.

Aggregated points: 13 (of max. 15)

Is the ranking based on a representative survey among key stakeholders or on a jury only?

  • Ranking is based on a jury’s opinion only. (1 point)
  • Ranking is based on a small survey or only on a limited group of stakeholders. (3 points)
  • Ranking is based on a robust and representative survey. (5 points)

Comment: Ranking is based on a survey among 3,004 members of the ‚informed public‘ (people in professional jobs, including top leaders and managers) in 17 countries worldwide.

Is the ranking methodology easy to understand and reasonable – even for non-statisticians?

  • Methodology not easy to understand and not reasonable. (1 point)
  • Methodology fairly good to understand and reasonable. (3 points)
  • Methodology very easy to understand and reasonable. (5 points)

Is the ranking methodology easy to access and transparent?

  • Methodology not easy to find and not sufficiently transparent. (1 point)
  • Methodology fairly good to find and of medium transparency. (3 points)
  • Methodology very easy to find and of high transparency. (5 points)

Comment: Methodology is explained online but questions of the survey are not revealed.

Aggregated points: 9 (of max. 15)

Ranking category

  • Product / Service Brands
  • Company Brands
  • Corporate Reputation and Company Esteem
  • Social Responsibility, CSR & Sustainability, Ethical Business Practices
  • Innovation & Technology
  • Employer Attractiveness & Diversity
  • Leadership
  • Nations & Destinations
  • University & Other Institutions
  • Sports
  • Lifestyle
  • Social Media
  • Personal Branding & CEOs

Ranking statistics

  • Name of Ranking: FutureBrand Index 2015
  • Ranking managed/produced by institute/organization: FutureBrand
  • Ranking published by media outlet: Fast Company
  • Date of recent publication: July 23, 2015
  • Date of previous publication: July 1, 2014

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