The 10 most successful brands in the world and what they’re doing right

There are some companies that always seem to be a few steps ahead from the rest. Their products are perceived as being better, their stores are everywhere, we feel familiar with the brands and enjoy buying their products. These are generally big, multinational companies who have perfected their brand identity and identified the most profitable areas of their business.

According to Interbrand, in 2016 the top 10 most successful global brands were:

So what do these companies do that the others haven’t quite grasped? To understand how these brands have ended up so iconic and successful, we have to ask what they do to set them apart from the competition:


Customer’s have to really value a product before they invest their money in it. These top 10 companies are able to invest in what the customer wants and needs, while ensuring them they’re getting a fair deal for their money. This is particularly important when purchasing an expensive item, such as the latest smartphone from Apple or Samsung. The associated value of these brands makes consumers perceive the product as being worth the purchase.   

A clear identity

It helps when a brand has a clear identity. This will help the customer associate the marketing with the brand. These companies have such strong brand association you don’t even need to mention the company’s name – you only have to say “think different” to think Apple. Just mention “golden arches” and you know it’s McDonald’s.

These successful brands ensure their persona comes through in every aspect of marketing, and leaves a lasting impact on the customer.

Brand experience

Customer loyalty is an important thing to earn. This will ensure a customer only purchases a product or service from your company. To help earn this, it’s important to consider the brand experience. Apple does this extremely well – the slick tv and online ads make you want to go into their stores, where you receive exceptional customer service. If there’s a problem with your phone, visit the Genius Bar, where it can be fixed. You won’t find that with an Android product in Australia. This positive association keeps customers coming back for more. It doesn’t matter if the product costs more than rivals, the customer is still going to come back because of the positive experience.

Management style

It’s not always about marketing and the customer. The companies that get ahead do so because of the way they are run and controlled. They have mastered the work culture – encouraging open-mindedness while still meeting organisational goals. There’s a reason why you keep hearing people mention how popular Google is to work at. It’s so popular that in fact, it’s easier to get into Harvard than into Google. Two million people apply to work at Google each year because it is widely known for it’s impressive management style, work-life balance and employee perks. This positive working environment helps to foster innovation, and therefore increase profits.

Staying ahead of the competition

It sounds like an obvious statement, but it’s important. Being able to “think different” and not be bothered by competition is crucial. Great companies are able to think of ideas before their competitor, often years before. Being innovative is key to staying successful.

You only have to look at failed companies to prove this. Nokia and Blackberry were unable to withstand the competition and constant updates from Apple, Samsung and other Android rivals. Blockbuster was unable to anticipate the challenges from streaming services such as Netflix.

The big companies are able to see the changes in the market, and come up with new ideas to adapt their product or service and stay ahead of the competition. Amazon Prime Air is a great example of innovation that keeps brands ahead. The company is using drones to deliver customer’s orders, something that it’s rivals are sure to capitalise on in the future.      


Ensuring a company’s marketing is consistent is vital. This generates brand recognition, and therefore customer loyalty. This is a strategy that Coca Cola is able to perform excellently. You only need to look at Coca Cola’s home page, Facebook account and Twitter accounts:


Their social media marketing is seamlessly intertwined, and ensures the conveyed messages work to enhance the brand. Consistent marketing means there is no confusion about what message is being conveyed. There is always one message, and it’s always on point. Customers want to buy and interact from brands they know. Consistent marketing will help achieve this, and as a result, the brand will be rewarded.


There are a few different categories that the big companies focus on. This is the customers, and their own goals and what they are good at.

The customers are one of the most important parts of any business. Without customers, you have no business. It makes sense that they should be the core focus of any business. It costs five times as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one. This demonstrates the importance of focusing on customers in order to achieve customer retention. Brands that involve their customer will be rewarded. Just look at Coca Cola’s Share A Coke campaign, the campaign that is one of the best performing in Coca Cola’s history. The campaign personalised their bottles with customers names. The campaign was able to connect with customers on a personal level, and as a result the customers rewarded the brand.  

It is also important for a company to focus on what they’re good at, without expanding and stretching itself too thin. While it can be rewarding to try to expand and be innovative, there can also be negative consequences. While IBM still retains its top 10 successful brand position, it is slipping down the list. This is because it has shifted its focus to data analytics, cloud computing, mobile, social and security. While IBM is slowly making gains in cloud computing and data analytics, it’s shares are still continuing to decline, and has reported declines for 17 straight quarters.  

Knowing these tips, it’s easy to see how these brands are able to secure their place as top 10 in the world. However, these tips are not just for big multinational companies. They can easily be implemented by any business to get an edge over the competition and set themselves apart.

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