Deloitte has risen up to take the title of the world’s most valuable and strongest commercial services brand, with a brand value up 42% to US$29.7bn according to the latest report by Brand Finance, the world’s leading independent brand valuation consultancy.
The commercial services giant has overtaken its Big 4 rival PwC for the first time in 10 years. A major portion of Deloitte’s brand value is coming through its advisory service line, with its consulting revenue growing the fastest with double digit growth rates in each of their core capabilities: technology, strategy and operations and human capital.
This extends more than 10 years of double-digit growth. Deloitte also experienced significant growth in their financial advisory segment, supporting clients in some of the year’s biggest and most complex disputes and investigations. Deloitte’s risk advisory segment completed six acquisitions in critical growth areas and has been in forefront in supporting clients adapting to geopolitical changes – in particular the impact of Brexit.
David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, commented:
“In recent years we’ve seen a decline in dominance across the Big Four commercial services brands, with auditors criticised for failures in identifying irregularities across the books of major brands. Accountants simply must do more to restore trust in financial reporting.”
Big 4 brands still dominate ranking
PwC is the most valuable brand in both the assurance and tax service lines. With 107,000 people in practice, PwC is one of the largest audit and accounting networks in the world. PwC’s tax & legal revenues grew by 8% driven by the scale and complexity of change in many domestic and international tax systems, including the impact of the US tax reform. PwC experienced particularly strong demand for indirect tax advice such as value added tax and customs.
EY saw the second highest brand value among the Big 4 across all the three service lines, assurance, advisory and tax, consistent with its broad ‘Building a better working world’ positioning. On the back of eight consecutive years of strong revenue growth, its overall brand value is up 36% to US23.2bn, and once again it attained an elite AAA+ brand strength rating. With an eye to future growth, in 2018 EY invested in 21 acquisitions and 4 new alliances, covering strategy, AI, blockchain, cyber, RPA and digital.
KPMG strong despite controversies
KPMG retains its spot as the 5th most valuable Professional Services brand, valued at US$13.0bn. However, KPMG remains the most troubled among the Big Four, and has been impacted by controversies in 2018, including the widely-covered audit of the now defunct UK construction firm, Carillion. In the future, KPMG will need to modernise further, as the winds of change are already swaying the Big Four firms to take bolder steps towards modifying their traditional consulting models.
Not only has the brand entered and expanded into new realms of professional services throughout the world, but there is also increased talk of breakups into smaller factions that would help hedge its best for better services provision in the coming years.
Ones to watch
Credit card and payment processing giant American Express has this year recorded a phenomenal 82% growth in its brand value, moving up to third place with a brand value of US$27.5bn.
It is, however, not the fastest growing commercial services brand of the year; with that title going to American brand Sunbelt Rentals (up 104% to US$2.2m), followed closely by Chinese brand New Oriental (up 102% to US$ 2.2m).
BDO inches up
Belgian auditing, accounting and consulting brand, BDO, retains its top 10 ranking among professional services brands, recording a 14% brand value growth to US$3.3bn. The multinational brand, which is present in 162 countries worldwide, places innovation as a key driver of its success, with the firm making substantial investments in information technology and through long-term partnerships with the likes of Microsoft. The brand has also this year retained its title as Belgium’s second most valuable brand.
Deloitte flexes muscle
Aside from calculating overall brand value, Brand Finance also determines the relative strength of brands through a balanced scorecard of metrics evaluating marketing investment, stakeholder equity, and business performance. Alongside revenue forecasts, brand strength is a crucial driver of brand value.
According to these criteria, Deloitte is the world’s strongest commercial services brand with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 91.24 out of 100 and an elite AAA+ brand strength rating. Although marginal, Deloitte is to be commended as the only brand in the Big 4 to experience an increase in its brand strength this year. This growth is anchored in its consistent investment, improving equity and solid business performance.