Brand Finance ranks Disney as the world's most powerful brand in new study

Feb 02, 2016 in "The Walt Disney Company"

Posted: Tuesday February 2, 2016 1:29pm EST by WDWMAGIC Staff

Thanks to the performance of Star Wars, a new study from Brand Finance ranks Disney as the world's most powerful brand, bumping Lego from the no.1 spot it held last year.

Each year, brand valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance puts thousands of the world’s top brands to the test. They are evaluated to determine which are the most powerful (based on factors such familiarity, loyalty, promotion, marketing investment, staff satisfaction and corporate reputation) and which are most valuable and ranked in the Brand Finance Global 500.

According to the study:

"Disney is the world’s most powerful brand. Disney’s strength is founded on its rich history and original creations, however its now dominant position is the result of its many acquisitions and the powerful brands it has brought under its control. ESPN, Pixar, The Muppets and Marvel are all now Disney owned, but perhaps its most important acquisition of all has been Lucasfilm, and thus Star Wars.

Star Wars Episode VII ‘The Force Awakens’ has broken countless box office records, becoming the fastest to take US$1 billion, enjoying the most successful opening weekend ($529 million) and based on its total box office gross of nearly US$2 billion is Disney’s most successful film ever. Meanwhile Star Wars toys have generated over US$700 million.

Brand Finance has estimated the value of the Star Wars brand to be US$10 billion, dwarfing the US$4.05 billion Disney paid for Lucasfilm in 2012. Though this might suggest that Disney engineered a very favourable deal, it has undoubtedly contributed to the growth of the Star Wars brand. Disney is managing to exploit the Star Wars concept both rapidly and sensitively, a difficult feat to pull off. Disney styles itself as ‘the happiest place on Earth’. That has proved true not just for its customers but for investors too."

Although classified as the most powerful brand, the Walt Disney Company did not make the top 10 of the world's most valuable brands - that honor went to Apple and a host of tech companies.

Discuss on the Forums
View all comments →

JoeCamelFeb 13, 2016

I am interested to hear about this? Comcast is 76% owned by institutional investors just as most "name" stocks are. Quite a bit of the remaining 24% is owned by BOD members and the rest is a handful of retail investors. What portion does Disney own and through what entity?

flynnibusFeb 13, 2016

Yet conglomerates that market their product lines... still spend MILLIONS building and protecting their Corporate IMAGE AND BRAND. Like all those GE commercials? Boeing Commercials? Northrop? Siemens... 3M... Johnson&Johnson.. etc Those are examples of companies trying to build and mold the public perception of their corporate image and brand value. When you want the Disney name to mean something when you put it on the package... thats a BRAND. Even if it's a Marvel toy. Boeing isn't trying to sell consumers 787s when they show all those ads... they are trying to shape public perception of what the name means when you see it. Just like Disney wants their name to mean something when they put it in front of a movie, on a toy, or on a show.

note2001Feb 12, 2016

I'm not worried about the Disney stock prices. Just ride it out. The guys in charge at Disney are smart about keeping the value of their investments. ESPN may have trouble now, but they're working on solutions. Interesting side note: I also read that Disney is quite invested in Comcast. You all know who Comcast owns, yes? ;)

SirenFeb 12, 2016

Awww, don't panic! Cramer has already explained the reasoning behind this. Disney is being punished for ESPN, but overall it still remains a solid long term investment.

ford91exploderFeb 11, 2016

And falling like a safe.

RSoxNo1Feb 11, 2016

Stock is trading at $89.56

SirenFeb 11, 2016

Wow! I'm so proud of Disney, this is really huge news. What Iger has done for the Disney brand is truly astonishing. Not to mention, Disney just experienced the best quarter in the *history* of the company!

Jon81ukFeb 03, 2016

I have only seen Disney branding on the front of boxes often next to Hasbro

CaptainAmericaFeb 03, 2016

Sure, to convey ownership of the intellectual property. Branding isn't about legality, it's about marketing. Disney is in small letters on the back of the box. This is a Star Wars brand toy, not a Disney brand toy. Lucasfilm isn't the brand, either. Star Wars is the brand.

Mike SFeb 03, 2016

Well, there's a big surprise. I think I'm gonna have a heart attack and die from that surprise.

Jon81ukFeb 03, 2016

All of the Star Wars merch now has a Disney logo on it. Some Marvel stuff does too I think. For merchandise its seems that Star Wars is Disney and never Lucasfilm.

plutofan15Feb 03, 2016

Unfortunately, that is not unique to Disney. That is the attitude of many large corporations including the one I work for. They put up a facade of caring about the employee but when it comes down to bottom line you'll be out the door without a second thought if your position not fit the "future vision of the company".

note2001Feb 03, 2016

I agree in your definition of the term brand which we take to mean more of a product line, trademark brand name. These brands may be product lines or entire smaller companies owned by the larger which could easily survive on their own, and most likely did so before being acquired. There is a lucrative corporate speaker business out there to invent new terms and twist the meanings of existing terms. I blame these folk for twisting the term 'brand' to mean the the overall perceived image of a company is one of many byproducts of this business. Why did they choose to use a term that already meant something else and is too close to their meaning? My theory is because it was a term corporations already felt comfortable with. This short article published on Forbes does a better job of defining the difference between a product brand, and a corporate brand. One is tangible, the other is not.

CaptainAmericaFeb 03, 2016

It's hilarious that "Brand Finance" doesn't understand what the word "brand" means. The publication includes Star Wars, Marvel, and ESPN as part of the reason that the Disney brand is so strong, but those things are unique brands, not the "Disney" brand. Proctor and Gamble is not a brand, for example. Bounty, Gain, and Gillette are brands owned by P&G, but P&G is not the brand. The Disney brand is Mickey Mouse, Walt Disney World, and Frozen. The Disney brand is not The Force Awakens, The Avengers, or SportsCenter. Those brands are owned by The Walt Disney Company, but that's not the same as saying they're part of the Disney brand.