A message from our CEO

A Q2 UPDATE TO TENET’S 2020 TOP 100 MOST POWERFUL BRANDS REPORT.

As the United States moves through the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact on corporate brands continues and will for the foreseeable future. Companies in diverse sectors are experiencing extremes brought on by the new realities of isolation and remote work.

Most notably (and unsurprisingly), the sector that is outpacing the broader market in BrandPower is tech. For the first time in the history of our tracking study, Coca-Cola relinquishes its long standing #1 ranking to Apple. Considering that Apple essentially accomplished this in 20 years speaks volumes.

The rapid march of Amazon up the rankings is notable too. In just two quarters, Amazon has risen from #12 to #8, upsetting competing businesses along the way. Beyond traditional retail, the sector that is folding under the weight of Amazon’s unrelenting momentum is transportation. Both FedEx and UPS dropped 4 and 3 positions respectively. All those Amazon trucks and vans on the road are imprinting a new brand on the physical landscape once dominated by others.

From all estimates, the pandemic will drag on until vaccines become widely available: we can expect the major impact to last for another 12-18 months. During this period, corporate brands will continue to experience increased volatility and reputation risk. This is already being seen in the retail sector, where record numbers of bankruptcies are emerging. To add to the economic strife rattling the economy, as of October travel, tourism and entertainment remain depressed. Cruise lines, airlines, hotels, restaurants, live entertainment, theaters and other related businesses are still struggling to restart under the current protocols and more importantly, are fighting to reestablish consumer trust.

For the fortunate winners, ever-increasing opportunity seems to be cementing their futures. The challenge for many of these organizations, especially in tech industries, is how to manage downside risk as the environment normalizes in the years ahead. These brands have the potential to gain too much power in the eyes of the government and consumers. History shows that this can create unforeseen backlash, sending brands that have experienced nothing but growth into uncharted territory. 2020 continues to be a landmark year and as we enter 2021, we expect volatility to be the new normal for brands across all sectors.

Hampton Bridwell
CEO, Tenet Partners

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