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Interbrand Japan launches Best Japan Brands 2017 report

February 22, 2017




Announcing Japan’s Top 40 Best Global Brands and Japan’s Top 40 Best Domestic Brands for 2017

  • Toyota holds the #1 position for the ninth consecutive year in Japan’s Best Global Brands
  • Subaru dramatically increases its brand value 28% from 2016 to achieve the highest growth rate for the fourth consecutive year
  • Tokio Marine and MUJI fulfill global brand standards to be included in Japan’s Best Global Brands ranking
  • Kampo Seimei and Sompo Holdings insurance brands, as well as LINE and Gusto enter Japan’s Best Domestic Brands ranking for the first time

TOKYO, Japan (February 16, 2017) – Interbrand Japan, Japan’s largest branding company, has released its Best Japan Brands 2017 report. The report ranks the brand value of brands originating in Japan through a Brand Valuation™ method that converts the value of independent brands into a monetary value.

Interbrand Japan has announced these annual rankings since 2009. In this ninth consecutive year, Best Japan Brands 2017 announces the top 40 brands in two categories: Japan’s Best Global Brands (JBGB), which ranks global Japanese brands (brands with an overseas sales ratio of at least 30%), and Japan’s Best Domestic Brands (JBDB), which ranks domestic Japanese brands (brands with an overseas sales ratio of less than 30%).

Best Japan Brands 2017 uses the same evaluation methodology as Interbrand’s Best Global Brands, in which Interbrand has ranked and announced the top 100 global brands every year since 2000. This evaluation is beneficial as an index at a global standard that can compare the brand value of Japanese companies to leading brands worldwide.


2017 had a dramatically changing political and economic environment due to the impact of the ongoing strength of the yen, the United States presidential election, and the British referendum to withdraw from the European Union.

The total monetary value of brands has grown 6.3% in the JBGB and 0.5% in the JBDB compared to last year.

hg0088现金注册The overall growth rate of the JBGB surpassed that of the Best Global Brands 2016 ranking announced in October 2016, which grew 4.8%. These results demonstrate the favorability of Japanese global brands.

hg0088现金注册The ranking was dominated by automotive brands (11 brands) and financial brands (11 brands).

  • Automotive brands, led by Toyota (JBGB #1, +9%), enhanced their brand value to drive Japanese brands overall again this year.
  • Among financial brands, Kampo Seimei (JBDB #17), which began public trading last year, and Sompo Holdings (JBDB #35) entered the rankings for the first time.

Brands that recognized the importance of their brand and worked to enhance it showed a high growth rate in their brand value.

  • Subaru (JBGB #10, +28%) and Shimano (JBGB #22, +20%) improved their profitability by clearly identifying their differentiating factors.
  • MUJI (JBGB #19, +20%) cultivated a global customer base by proposing a simple lifestyle.

Japan’s Best Global Brands 2017

In the JBGB 2017, five of the top ten spots were occupied by automotive brands, with Toyota at #1 for the ninth consecutive year, followed by Honda (#2, -4%), Nissan (#4, +22%), Lexus (#9, +10%), and Subaru (#10, +28%).

hg0088现金注册Subaru had the highest brand value growth rate for the fourth consecutive year to earn its place in the top 10 for the first time. Overall, the Top 40 included 11 automotive brands.

hg0088现金注册MUFG (#6, +7%) continued to go from strength to strength.

Tokio Marine (#15, +19%) and MUJI (#19, +20%) moved from JBDB to be ranked as global brands by fulfilling the criterion of having an overseas sales ratio of at least 30%. Both brands enjoyed significant growth that earned them places as two of the Top 5 Growing Brands. Japanese brands continued to move on an upward trajectory globally with the acceleration of business growth in global markets.

Top 5 Growing Brands (Year-on-Year Growth Rate Increase in Brand Value)

Subaru (#10, +28%)

Subaru continued the double-digit growth in brand value it has experienced since first being ranked in 2012. This is the fourth consecutive year (since 2014) that Subaru has taken the #1 spot for the rate of its brand value growth. The company held its position by pioneering and focusing on the American market through value centered upon its slogan “Enjoyment and peace of mind.”

Nissan (#4, +22%)

hg0088现金注册Nissan expanded efforts to increase the value of its brand, using business and product strategy and the revitalization of the point-of-contact customer experience as major pillars by which it could gain competitive edge. These efforts to sustain the brand over main years have proven to be a clear success.

MUJI (#19, +20%)

MUJI entered the JBGB for the first time this year after exceeding more than 30% of its sales ratio overseas. MUJI cultivated its global customer base by understanding the needs of customers in China and Europe and proposing an attractive simple lifestyle. Better awareness of the brand overseas also increased sales to tourists in Japan.

Shimano (#22, +20%)

Shimano fiercely defended its position as the top brand worldwide for bicycle components by establishing Shimano as the default standard for everything bicycle. The company clarified its differentiating factors to achieve a premium status, while earning high brand value through greater profitability.

Tokio Marine (#15, +19%)

As a result of actively advancing its overseas expansion as a leader in the insurance industry, Tokio Marine has joined the JBGB this year after exceeding a 30% ratio of sales overseas. The company has enhanced its global presence by actively unifying itself into one brand through M&A.

New Entrants

MUJI(#19, +20%)
Tokio Marine (#15, +19%)

*Both brands moved from JBDB to JBGB

*Brands ranked in Best Global Brands 2016 apply the monetary brand value of Best Global Brands 2016.
**The ratio of overseas sales is that of Toyota Motor Corporation.
***The brand values of Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. and Yamaha Corporation have been combined and calculated. The overseas sales ratio divides the total overseas sales of both companies by their gross sales.

Japan’s Best Domestic Brands  2017

hg0088现金注册In the JBDB 2017, NTT DOCOMO took the top position (+4%) for the seventh consecutive year, followed by Softbank (#2, +5%) and au (#2, +5%).

While these three major communication companies showed stable growth, Sompo Holdings (#35) and Gusto (#37) earned their way into the rankings for the first time together with Kampo Seimei (#17), which went public last year, and LINE (#23).

Top 5 Growing Brands (Year-on-Year Growth Rate Increase in Brand Value)

Matsumotokiyoshi (#38, +28%)

Matsumotokiyoshi achieved a high increase in sales and profit thanks to tourist sales and CRM. The company expects to achieve even more growth by active measures that anticipate consumer needs, with initiatives including the introduction of store brand “matsukiyo,” offering services that integrate physical and online shopping, and the expansion of “matsukiyo LAB” next generation healthcare shops to provide beauty and health solutions.

KOSÉ (#24, +27%)

hg0088现金注册KOSÉ created a “booster” category for the Cosme Decorte beauty essence, which was released as a result of years of research and development. The company was also able to increase value for the KOSÉ brand, while finding success in the high-priced market.

Calbee (#19, +17%)

hg0088现金注册Calbee continued to increase both sales and profits after being reinvigorated under the powerful leadership of top management. With its mission to “make Furughllha a national staple,” the company established a new positioning not only in the cereal market but also in the broader breakfast market. Calbee dramatically increased sales with brand expansion through a brand experience that starts with a philosophy about how to eat. The brand is nurturing a mutual empathy with customers online, and customer support geared to cultivate fans for the Calbee Plus concept shop.

Kao (#8, +11%)

hg0088现金注册Kao designed its basic marketing strategy around “Yoki-Monozukuri” that originated with consumers. This approach deliberately responds to consumer needs with innovative technology while using feedback to create better product performance and design. These efforts saw an increase of brand value, higher profitability, and slightly increasing sales.

Meiji (#21, +9%)

Meiji heightened brands in each product category through creating value to generate greater sales and profits and by shifting to a more premium presence. The company succeeded in expanding its market and facilitating greater sales of its products by pursuing the health value of chocolate through the cacao polyphenol. Meiji grasped consumer needs to establish its position in the functional yogurt market with LG21 and R-1, setting up a basis for research of lactic acid bacterium in probiotic yogurt.

New Entrants

Kampo Seimei (#17)

Kampo Seimei has high brand recognition throughout Japan, and has stable earnings. The company became eligible for evaluation in this report after listing on the market, and captured a top spot as one of Japan’s best domestic brands.

LINE (#23)

hg0088现金注册LINE’s mission to “close the distance“ understands the consumer need to easily connect with those close to them while effortlessly handling everything in a single platform. The company gained acclaim from their main target of consumers in their teens and 20s. The brand has generated sales and profit through advertising and marketing that connects users and customers via an open platform strategy.

Sompo Holdings (#35)

hg0088现金注册The Sompo Holdings brand was launched in 2016. The company integrated its insurance, nursing care, and healthcare businesses around the core concept of security, health, and wellbeing. Sompo earned itself a place as a top domestic brand in Japan by clearly expressing its brand as a bundle of businesses integrated at a high level.

Gusto (#37)

hg0088现金注册Gusto earned its position with its success in increasing value by providing a place where anyone can sit, relax, and enjoy a meal. The company improved the decor and atmosphere of its restaurants with remodeling that began in 2013. Both the business and the brand are showing growth by responding to the broader needs of a more diverse customer segment to provide value surpassing price through reforms that include dramatic changes to menus based on the analysis of data conducted in 2016.

Nitori (#39)

Nitori has been able to support customers by fully coordinating interior spaces at a low price. Superior capabilities from research and development to merchandise development and high adaptability to customer needs have continuously brought about hit products, including the Nitori skillet. This is the first time in two years that Nitori has been in the JBDB ranking (it was last listed in 2015) thanks to higher customer transactions, increasing sales, and operating income through a shift in product strategies to a slightly higher price range in recent years.

*Although overseas sales exceeded 30% of total sales for each corporation as a whole, Softbank, Recruit, Kao, Suntory, Kirin, and NTT Data were included in the domestic ranking because overseas sales for businesses operating under the respective brands did not.
**The evaluation of brand value and ratio of overseas sales is based on figures for the publicly-traded Suntory Food &
Beverage Limited.
***The overseas sales of Japan Airlines is the total of their international routes and overseas sales. The sales generated
substantially overseas are not publicly disclosed. Therefore, Japan Airlines has been evaluated in the domestic rankings this fiscal year.




Criteria for inclusion

hg0088现金注册In order to shed light on the value of global Japanese brands and enable comparison of their relative position against a common global measure, brands meeting the following criteria were selected for evaluation:

  1. The brand originated in Japan: The corporate or business brand is the product of a Japanese enterprise.
  2. Financial information is publicly available: The corporation was publicly listed as of October 31, 2016, and analyst reports are available.
  3. Overseas sales (sales outside Japan) account for at least 30% of the brand’s total sales, based on FY 2015 results: Brands for which overseas sales account for less than 30% of total sales are covered in the ranking of the Top 40 domestic Japanese brands.
  4. The brand is generally recognized as a global brand.


hg0088现金注册Interbrand’s methodology for evaluating brand value is based on the brand’s financial strength, influence on purchasing decisions, and contribution of future earnings. In the same way that securities analysts analyze and evaluate the value of a company, we analyze and evaluate the value of a brand by asking, “What is its future earning potential?” This methodology has been certified compliant with the ISO 10668, the global standard for measuring the monetary value of brands as established by the International Organization for Standardization.

The evaluation is made up of the following three specific analyses:

1. Financial Performance: Project the company’s future earnings
hg0088现金注册 First, we estimate the current and future revenues of the business operating under the brand. We then subtract operating earnings, taxes, and capital cost of investment to calculate future economic profit. Our analysis is based on published corporate data; future projections are based on analyst performance forecasts. (Note: For analyst forecasts this evaluation relies on analysts’ estimates obtained from THOMSON REUTERS. The THOMSON REUTERS data used is current as of December 25, 2016.)

2. Role of Brand: Derive the brand’s contribution to profits
Next, to derive the brand’s contribution to future economic profits as calculated in the analysis of financial performance, we analyze the brand’s influence on customer purchasing decisions. In evaluating the role that a brand plays in consumer purchasing trends, we perform benchmark analyses by industry that draw on our database of brand value evaluations accumulated over the past 30 years. Based on these industry benchmarks, we perform a proprietary analysis to derive a brand contribution score.

3. Brand Strength: Evaluate the brand’s contribution to future earnings
Brand strength analysis measures a brand’s power to inspire what the client needs to sustain future earnings— market loyalty, repeat purchases by consumers, and lock in—and discounts brand earnings to derive a present value. Our evaluation offers a systematic means of determining a brand’s risk based on the10 factors below that we believe are key. These include not only external factors such as market position, consumer recognition and favorability, and brand image but also internal factors such as support for the brand among management and employees and the company’s brand protection system. This results in a score between 0 and 100 on a 100-point scale.

Brand Strength Model 10 Factors

Internal Factors

  • Clarity
  • Commitment
  • Governance
  • Responsiveness

External Factors

  • Authenticity
  • Relevance
  • Differentiation
  • Consistency
  • Presence
  • Engagement

hg0088现金注册Next, the brand strength score is converted into a discount rate through a calculation method unique to Interbrand into a discount rate to derive brand value. The analyses for the role of the brand and the brand strength use various published reports for calculation based on multifaceted consultant evaluations.

About Interbrand

hg0088现金注册Interbrand is the world’s leading brand consultancy, established in London in 1974. Interbrand defines a brand as a living business asset because we believe organizations nurture growth when they offer a superior customer experience through a clear organizational strategy. With 24 offices in 17 countries, we have supported the promotion of growth for both the brand and businesses of our clients through a combination of strategy, creativity, and technology.

Interbrand Brand Valuation™ is the first recognized global standard through the ISO to measure the monetary value of brands worldwide. We publish various brand value and brand strength reports, including Best Global Brands which evaluates and ranks the value of global brands. We advance projects by gathering strategic analysis professionals who use state-of-the-art methodologies with highly creative artists into one team. We conduct all aspects from analysis to execution with in-house resources from strategic consultants who lead the assessment of brand value and building of brand strategies to designers who develop brand logos, packages spaces, and digital signage in addition to copy writers who create names, slogans, and messages.

Interbrand Japan was established in 1983—historically the third office in Interbrand’s global network, following London and New York. Interbrand Japan provides a full suite of services to various Japanese organizations and associations from Japanese and foreign-owned enterprises to governmental offices and agencies.

For more information, please contact pr@interbrandjapan.com 
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