What is the FutureBrand Index?

The FutureBrand Index is a global brand perception study which reorders PwC’s Global Top 100 Companies by Market Cap on perception strength, rather than financial strength.

The index determines the brand strength of each company on the list based on 18 Experience and Purpose attributes, such as Consistency (delivers a consistent experience to customers), Resource Management (acts ethically to maintain a sustainable environment), Indispensability (people depend on the brand), Innovation (creates products and services that are genuinely useful), Trust (is a trusted brand), and Well-being (contributes to people’s well-being.)

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The Big Story: Navigating the Purpose Void

The Future Brand Index 2023

The FutureBrand Index 2023 reveals the dawning of a new purpose era. One where huge opportunity exists for forward-thinking companies that prioritise tangible innovation to imagine products and services that make essential impacts on people’s everyday lives.

The world is currently in a state of deep disruption and the public at large are wondering who really has their backs, and who is all talk. Here lies what we are calling the ‘purpose void’ – a place where an ever more informed and enquiring public relegates companies that fail to practice what they preach. However, for those who do, and are able to overtly demonstrate their stated corporate purpose through highly tangible, everyday experiences, the possibilities are almost as endless as they are exciting.

Read the FutureBrand Index 2023 report

Top Insights

Fbi 2023 promo insight 1

Navigating AI’s Ascension

From OpenAI’s revolutionary language model ChatGPT to the creative tools of Adobe Firefly, developments in AI – especially generative AI – have dominated the tech scene over the past year.

See more insights in the full report
Fbi 2023 promo insight 2

The Consumer Brand Comeback

Over the last two years the FutureBrand Index has tracked B2B businesses as they have marched up the Top 100, leaving consumer-facing brands in their dust. But with economic and geopolitical uncertainty persisting into this year, consumer brands have reversed their trajectory and leapt back up the list.

See more insights in the full report
Fbi 2023 promo insight 3

Corporate Conscience

Companies which can demonstrate, via real product and service experience, both a conscience and responsible corporate governance resonated strongly with our sample this year. Promises about the future are now virtually meaningless; brands have to act ethically today to avoid falling into the purpose void. In fact, the data reveals an opportunity for businesses to step in where governments are failing to deliver.

See more insights in the full report

Read the FutureBrand Index 2023 Report

Read the full report for more detail about the Top 100 companies

Read the FutureBrand Index 2023 Report

The Top 10

  • 1
    ↑6 USA
  • 2
    ↑1 USA
  • 3
    NextEra Energy
    ↓2 USA
  • 4
    ↑5 Taiwan
  • 5
    ↑6 South Korea
  • 6
    ↑9 USA
  • 7
    ↑25 USA
  • 8
    ↓2 USA
  • 9
    ↑1 Netherlands
  • 10
    Ping An Insurance
    ↑13 China
To view the full Top 100 companies in this year's FutureBrand Index 2023, download the full report here:

Sectors at a Glance

Consumer sectors have triumphed this year, while information technology firms have put in another strong performance. It’s a close race between the remaining sectors, with healthcare, energy and utilities and communications services tied in fourth place and financial, industrial and materials companies rounding off the ranking in joint seventh.

Consumer brands have made an impressive comeback in 2023. Consumer discretionary is the year’s dominant sector, as today’s unsettled economic and political environment drives people towards those companies which provide quality and have impact in their everyday lives.

Of the 10 consumer discretionary brands in the Top 100 this year, nine have risen up the ranking and four now sit in the Top 20. The majority of attribute scores have increased across the sector, with a particular improvement in consistency.

After soaring 25 places up the Index to number seven, Tesla leads the group in 2023. The only consumer discretionary firm to fall down the ranking this year is luxury group LVMH, which is down nine places to 56th.

However, consumer-facing companies are known for making grand promises as they bring more purpose into their brands. In this new era, in which tangible impact is the priority, they must tread carefully to avoid being sucked into the purpose void.

After two years as The FutureBrand Index’s top sector, information technology (formerly known just as ‘technology’) has dropped to second place in 2023.

The sector has 18 brands in the Top 100, ten of which have climbed up the ranking this year, including Apple, TSMC, Samsung and Microsoft. One has held steady and seven have dropped back down; German multinational business software firm SAP has tumbled 33 places to 76th, for example.

Nevertheless, average attribute scores across this sector show overall growth compared to previous waves of our research, no doubt boosted by this year’s surging interest in AI development.

Like the consumer discretionary sector, consumer staples brands have shown a strong performance among this year’s Top 100.

Many attribute scores have increased across the sector and none have decreased since last year. Innovation and thought leadership have particularly improved on the purpose side, while on the experience side the sector has shown growth in attributes which ‘make lives better’.

As previously mentioned, both Unilever and Nestlé have launched into the Top 20 this year, coming in 18th and 20th, respectively. Beer brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev has similarly catapulted up the list (up 25 places to 39th), while cosmetics giant L’Oreal has risen 16 places to 42nd.

As expected, given the easing of Covid-19 concerns following successful vaccine rollouts worldwide, the healthcare sector has dipped from third to joint fourth this year.

However, 2023 is still the sector’s second strongest year in the history of The FutureBrand Index. Almost all attribute scores remain considerably ahead of 2021 and the years prior; evidently, the vital role healthcare businesses played during the pandemic is having a lasting impact on brand perceptions.

The main area of decline is companies which developed and supplied Covid vaccines, all of which sprung up the Top 100 last year. Nevertheless, our respondents continue to view these firms as pioneers working to improve the quality of people’s lives.

The sector has also delivered some notable jumps up the ranking this year. Having boosted its purpose attribute scores, Bristol-Myers Squibb is up 23 places to 25th. Similarly, Johnson & Johnson has risen 24 places to 27th after improving its scores on attributes including story, inspiration and thought leadership.

Despite a persistently challenging market for energy and utility firms, there were some huge jumps up the Top 100 within the sector this year. Alaskan crude oil producer ConocoPhillips rose a whopping 51 places to 48th compared to its last appearance in the Index in 2014, while energy firm Shell has risen 21 places to 67th.

With the exception of the story attribute, sector average scores have all gone up in 2023. All scores for both 2022 and 2023 are well above previous years.

The new communications services sector includes nine companies from the former telecommunications sector, giving it a total of 10 brands in the Top 100 and two in the Top 20.

With the hype surrounding the metaverse now somewhat lost to the generative AI boom, Meta Platforms has slid 12 places to 17th after accelerating up the ranking in 2022. The Facebook-parent recently came under fire for blocking news about Canadian wildfires within the country (where it is now required to pay publishers for their articles), with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accusing the business of “putting corporate profits ahead of people’s safety” – a damning assessment as the purpose void looms. Still, Meta remains far ahead of its 2021 placement, when it came in at number 49.

On the other hand, AT&T is one of the Top 100’s biggest risers this year, up 32 places to 38th. Like T-Mobile and Verizon, which both also improved their positions, AT&T plays a critical role in keeping people across the world connected via its internet and mobile networks.

Amid soaring interest rates worldwide and the overall financial squeeze on consumers and businesses, the financial sector has dropped from second to joint seventh place this year. Perhaps reflecting a loss of trust in financial institutions, nine of the 17 financial firms in the Top 100 have dropped down the ranking.

Chinese firms, however, have had a strong year. Ping An Insurance is up 13 places to 10th, while the China Merchants Bank is up 17 places to 32nd and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) is up 12 places to 74th. However, since the research was conducted, the country’s anticipated economic rebound has hit a wall; so these firms may struggle to maintain their upwards trajectory in 2024.

Of the nine industrial brands in this year’s Index, only three have improved their placement. They include Top Five firm CATL, now in second place.

Defence technology conglomerate Raytheon Technologies has dropped a considerable 35 places to spot number 52, while industrial manufacturing firm Siemens has fallen 33 places since it last appeared in the Index in 2021, now coming in at 89th.

Our Top 100 features two firms in the Materials sector this year: Australian-founded mining and metals company BHP Group and multinational chemical company Linde.

What can AI tell us about 2023’s Top Risers?

Ai top 5 risers v2

With interest in AI’s strategic capabilities only increasing, we used Google’s generative AI chatbot Bard to analyse the five brands which saw the biggest improvements in their FutureBrand Index ranking this year.

Gathering insight into the actions these companies have taken, the impact they have had, and what other brands can learn from their success.

Read the FutureBrand Index 2023 report

The AI’s analysis: Five key takeaways

  • 1

    Focusing on brand purpose

    These brands all have a clear brand purpose that they communicate to consumers, which has helped to give them a sense of meaning and value.

  • 2

    Investing in innovation

    All of these brands are constantly investing in new products and services and are always looking for ways to improve their offerings, which has helped to keep them ahead of the competition.

  • 3

    Focusing on customer experience

    All of these brands put a lot of emphasis on providing a positive customer experience. This includes making it easy to do business with them, providing excellent customer service and listening to customer feedback.

  • 4

    Committing to sustainability

    Many of these brands are committed to sustainability, which means taking steps to reduce their environmental impact and to operate in a more sustainable way.

  • 5

    Adapting to market trends

    All of these brands are aware of the latest market trends and are adapting their strategies accordingly. This includes expanding into new markets, launching new products and services and partnering with other companies.

The FutureBrand Index 2023 lays bare a series of major insights that brands simply cannot afford to ignore.

From the rise of AI to the surging prominence of consumer brands, and the growing emphasis on corporate conscience and governance, our research offers crucial lessons for brands hoping to thrive in a rapidly evolving and unpredictable world. Innovation continues to sit at the heart of those companies leading the way.

If one thing is clear, it’s that a new era of corporate purpose is dawning. Words are no longer enough when we find ourselves in a state of perennial disruption; everything must come back to tangible action and positive impact if brands are to future-proof themselves against the many challenges which exist today.

Above all, brands must avoid being swallowed by the purpose void. In this new era, there can be no worse place to be.

Tools & Comparison

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