Building brand value: lessons from the world’s leading brands

Amazon has been named the world’s most valuable brand in Brand Finance’s Global 500 2018 Report. It tipped out Apple and Google for the prize. Locally, Telstra, the Commonwealth Bank and ANZ rounded out the Australian top three.

On a regional basis, Mercedes-Benz ranks as Europe’s most valuable brand, Amazon as North America’s, the petroleum company Pemex takes out no.1 in Latin America, while the telco Etisalat is the most valuable brand in the Middle East and Africa.

It’s worth checking out the report here to better understand brand strength and value. It also provides a snapshot of the changing marketplace as the technology sector continues to thrive.

Leading valuable brands adopt many different strategies to build their brand and make money – including advertising, licensing and brand extension. Viewed from a trade mark lawyer’s perspective, leading brands tend to adopt a three-prong approach to maximise brand value, comprising:

  • protection
  • market surveillance
  • enforcement.

Take Apple Inc. for example, which not only aggressively defends its trade mark rights but consistently seeks trade mark registrations to protect its various brand elements. In Australia alone it holds 700 registered and pending trade marks – from the SIRI mark, to the famous Apple icon, to the packaging for the IPad.

While a trade mark registration may deter would-be copycats, trade mark owners should also conduct market surveillance to keep an eye on competitors who may overstep the mark. This could include watches on trade mark and domain name registers as well as monitoring online sites for trade mark misuse and the sale of counterfeit products.

There’s no doubt that McDonald’s, which sits at no. 45 of this year’s Top 500 Most Valuable Brands, actively monitors the marketplace. The fast food giant has a fierce reputation for pursuing those it considers infringe its trade mark rights.Throughout the world it has sought to enforce its trade mark against any person using ’Mc‘ or ’Mac‘ in their branding. Their pursuit has had varying degrees of success, but as a result a new fast food market entrant is likely to think twice about using ’Mc‘ or ’Mac‘ as part of its branding.

Your brand may only be new or feel like a minnow compared to the Apples and McDonalds of this world but there’s been plenty of blood, sweat, tears and cash spent on its design, launch and promotion. Why wouldn’t you adopt a similar approach to the big brands and ensure your investment is protected?

If you require any further information, contact Anita Brown at


Anita is a member of our trade marks team and has more than 10 years’ experience in trade mark clearance work, prosecution, oppositions and enforcement, both locally and internationally. She has also been involved in proceedings before the Australian Trade Marks Office and the Federal Court of Australia.