By Nat Ives
Facebook Inc. slid again in a new report on the world's most valuable brands, while the famous names of Amazon.com Inc. and Walt Disney Co. gained.
Facebook fell out of the top 10 in Interbrand's annual Best Global Brands report, dropping to 14th place from ninth as the estimated value of its brand declined 12% to $39.9 billion.
Interbrand, part of Omnicom Group Inc., says its report synthesizes elements including the financial performance of branded products or services, the role that brands play in purchasing decisions and brands' ability to create loyalty.
By Interbrand's estimation, the Facebook name grew steadily in value each year until 2017, when it earned eighth place.
But Facebook has now endured an onslaught of bad publicity, including the 2018 Cambridge Analytica scandal, which revealed that users' data had flowed beyond Facebook more freely than many people expected.
Today the company and other tech giants are subjects of antitrust investigations and calls by prominent presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) to break them up.
"The lack of trust in a brand, if it goes to the heart of its business model, is really going to affect a brand," said Charles Trevail, global chief executive at Interbrand.
Facebook declined to comment.
Declining relevance and rising competition also hurt, which is partly how Interbrand explains Gillette's 18% brand-value drop this year, sinking to 37th place from 28th.
Gillette, a Procter & Gamble Co. brand that peaked at 13 on Interbrand's list in 2009 and 2010, tried to improve its appeal to young people this year with moves like an ad campaign taking on "toxic masculinity" and a new heated razor under the name GilletteLabs.
P&G said it focuses on sales growth and the number of people using its brands. The company's grooming business expanded organic sales in the year through June 30 and gained 15 million new users globally, a P&G spokeswoman said, adding that Gillette has the top market share in the U.S. and holds a more than 65% share of the male blades and razors market world-wide.
Marketers don't treat outside rankings like Interbrand's as solid financial data, but do keep an eye on the results.
"It is an outside-in view of how this community, this portion of the marketplace is looking at us," said Jeff Hansen, general manager of brand strategy at Microsoft Corp., which Interbrand said boosted its brand value 17% to $108.8 billion to remain at No. 4. "And then complementing our own proprietary research and insights we do -- It's often nice to have a separate methodology and data points to complement our own insights."
"The exact valuation they come up with is not something I really focus on," Mr. Hansen said. "I do think how much are we increasing or decreasing in a given year against many others is interesting."
Amazon remained in third place on Interbrand's rankings, behind No. 1 Apple Inc. and No. 2 Google. But Amazon's brand value rose more quickly, by 24% to $125.3 billion. Disney moved to No. 10 from No. 14 with an 11% increase in brand value to $44.4 billion.
"The companies that are doing well are the ones that are making big bets, " Mr. Trevail said, citing Disney's streaming-video service arriving next month as an example.
Luxury and retail brands made up the fastest-rising sector for the second year in a row, Interbrand said.
Raja Rajamannar, chief marketing and communications officer at Mastercard Inc., said reports like this help marketers evaluate their brands in a wider context than usual. Interbrand said Mastercard's brand value rose 25% to $9.4 billion.
"Most studies you do about your brand are in the context of who you think are your competing brands and how you are doing," Mr. Rajamannar said. "Everyone collectively is fighting for consumers' hearts and minds, not just in your categories." He added: "So these kinds of external studies cutting across categories are also helpful for us."
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