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Uniqlo, Subaru, Mazda, and--? Japanese Companies Whose International Brand Recognition has Rapidly Increased

2, 27. 2015

    In an evaluation of the brand values of Japanese companies that are performing well abroad, the order of companies was Toyota in first place, followed by Honda at second; Canon, third; Sony fourth; Nissan at fifth; Panasonic in sixth place; Uniqlo at seventh; Nintendo, eighth; Lexus, ninth; and tenth, Toshiba. These are the survey results that were recently announced by the Japanese subsidiary of Interbrand, the world's largest brand consultancy.

   Although the lineup had not changed much over the previous year (2014), Uniqlo was recognized as an international brand for the first time and jumped right into seventh place. As top domestic automotive and consumer electronics manufactures placed high in the rankings, Toyota held onto the top position for the seventh consecutive year since the survey first got underway.

Subaru, Top Riser in "Brand Value"

   Along with these top ten brands, car manufacturers such as Subaru (13th), Suzuki (14th), and Mazda (17th) were ranked among the Top 30 of Japan's Best Global Brands. In particular, Subaru, which ranked 16th last year, had the highest value improvement rate of all, with a 72 percent increase over the previous year with its estimated assessment, based on Interbrand's unique conversion of brand value. The steady performance of car manufacturers stood out in the rankings with Mazda (21st in 2014) following Subaru with a 56 percent increase.

   Interbrand gives particular recognition to Subaru and Mazda, saying that both manufacturers "have in common the characteristic that they are both transforming their various business activities spreading across global markets with a focus on the brand, and they are starting to be supported by customers abroad as special brands." Among the manufacturers of passenger cars, Mitsubishi and Daihatsu were again unable to become a part of the top 30 this year.

   As to manufacturers of electrical appliances, Epson placed 26th to join the rankings for the first time. Interbrand said that Epson "had been able to accurately capture the needs of users, particularly in emerging economies, and it demonstrated its high level of adaptability. Meanwhile, Nintendo was ranked eighth this year, falling from sixth place a year earlier, and Nikon also fell from 10th position to 16th. "These two brands are both in an environment where the needs of users change dramatically, and they ended up falling substantially in value," Interbrand said.

Uniqlo is "Expected to boost the power of its brand in the global market"

   There were a total of four brands that had been ranked among the top 30 for the first time this year: Uniqlo, Epson, Yakult (27th), and Yamaha (29th). Calculations were made for Yamaha's brand value by adding up the value of Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd., the motorcycle manufacturer, and Yamaha, the manufacturer of musical instruments.

   Among these brands, Uniqlo and Yakult, which have been considered to be domestic brands to date, had been "promoted" to the positions of international brands in these rankings. Both brands proved that their unique business models can also work well in overseas markets, and they "are in the process of growing, chiefly in Asia, as indispensable brands." Of particular note is Uniqlo, which jumped straight into the top 10, and "their accelerated success in Europe and the United States generates expectations for boosted brand value in the global market."

Annual Rankings through Conversions of Brand Value to Money

   Established in London in 1974, Interbrand expanded its operations to Japan in 1983 following its opening in New York. It currently provides assessments of corporate brand value in 27 countries throughout the world and says it is ISO 10688-certified as "a global standard for measuring the monetary value of brands".

   Interbrand Japan, the Japanese subsidiary of Interbrand, has been conducting unique assessments of Japanese companies which have overseas sales ratios that exceed 30 percent, based on (1) financial capacity (current and future earnings forecasts); (2) the amount of impact that a brand makes on decisions to buy; and (3) the level of certainty of future earnings brought about by the brand. Based on these criteria, Interbrand converts brand value to monetary values and provides company rankings each year.

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