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Our methodology

The list of companies surveyed is derived from the PwC Global Top 100 Companies by Market Capitalisation report from March 31, 2015.

It is worth noting that the 2015 PwC ranking features 15 new companies, and that 15 companies from 2014 are not included in this year’s study – this is entirely a function of their market capitalization and not a result of changing perception strength in FutureBrand’s research.

The new companies for 2015 are:
  • Actavis*
  • Alibaba
  • Altria Group
  • Astrazeneca
  • Biogen
  • Celgene Corp
  • China Life Insurance
  • Kinder Morgan
  • Medtronic
  • Mitsubishi Ufj Financial Group
  • Nike
  • Ping An Insurance Group
  • SAB Miller
  • United Health Group
  • Walgreens Boots Alliance
The companies not included from 2014 are:
  • Allied Irish Banks
  • American Express
  • ANZ Banking Group
  • BNP Paribas
  • ConocoPhillips
  • Ecopetrol
  • Eni SpA
  • Gazprom
  • Lloyds Banking Group
  • Petrobas
  • Rio Tinto
  • Softbank
  • Statoil
  • Toronto-Dominion Bank

* Note that at the time of research, Actavis was still named Actavis. It has since rebranded as Allergen.

This changing list meant it was important when comparing this year to 2014 that we did not just look at the ranked position but also at absolute mean rating scores on the main dimensions measured, and how these compare between the two years. Because the mean ratings were monadic they are directly comparable for the two years and are the purest way to look at trends.

How did we determine our sample?

To test our hypothesis about the difference between perception and financial performance of the Global Top 100 Companies by market capitalization, we surveyed 3,004 members of the informed public in 17 countries around the world* (in the USA, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, UK, Germany, France, Russia, Turkey, South Africa, UAE, India, China, Thailand, Japan and Australia).

Respondents are not only drawn from an ‘informed public’, in that they know about the companies in question, but that they are in professional jobs, including top leaders and managers. This is critical when we are asking about corporate organizations that sometimes have relatively low general public awareness.

Screening criteria:
  • By ‘informed’ we mean aware of and know something about at least 7 or more of the Global Top 100 companies – our aim was to understand strength of perceptions and associations of those people who can show reasonable awareness.
  • 21-75 years old, balanced between males and females, none were Unemployed or Students.
  • Top professional, Chairman, MD, VP/SVP or other Very Senior Manager, Top Level Civil Servant, or similar.
  • Skilled Professional, Departmental or Middle Manager, Senior Executive, Departmental or Head Teacher, or similar.
  • Junior Manager, Junior Executive, Shop Owner or Owner of Small Establishment, Class Teacher, Nurse, or similar.

Respondents were asked questions about those companies based on FutureBrand’s proprietary brand associations model, as well as a series of other factors, and provided answers on a multiple choice and qualitative basis. This formed the basis of our quantitative analysis to develop a new ranking of the companies driven by strength of perception across 18 specific attributes within the dimensions of ‘purpose’ and ‘experience’.

Our typologies

This absolute score against those two dimensions also allowed us to classify the organizations according to one of the following four typologies:

“Corporate brands” – Organizations that have weaker perceptions in both purpose and experience and fall into two further categories of ‘indifference’ and ‘admiration’.

“Purpose brands” – Organizations whose perception strength is biased towards attributes relating to Purpose, Inspiration, Authenticity, Innovation, Thought Leadership, Individuality, Indispensability, Resource Management and Price Premium.

“Experience brands” – Organizations whose perception strength is biased towards attributes relating to Personality, Story, Attachment, Consistency, Seamlessness, People, Pleasure, Wellbeing and Respect.

“Future brands” – Organizations that have very strong and balanced perceptions across both the purpose and experience dimensions and can be seen as the most ‘future proof’.

We used adaptive conjoint analysis to pick out the current and future drivers, patterns, strengths and weaknesses regarding the different regions and industries – driving our findings, industry sector rankings and organizations that informed global professionals believe are the ‘ones to watch’.

The qualitative responses, together with FutureBrand’s expert opinion and knowledge, formed the basis of the sector drivers, the written commentary for each leading sector organization and the broader future drivers of organizational success.

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Our partners


QRi Consulting is FutureBrand’s global research partner for the FutureBrand Index. Working in close collaboration, QRi helped to define the research approach against FutureBrand’s initial hypothesis, as well as managing recruitment, questionnaire development, and providing in-depth analysis of the qualitative and quantitative data underpinning the report. This is informed by QRi’s extensive research, brand and sector knowledge and experience as well as their proprietary QualiQuant® methodologies.


FutureBrand has worked closely with the Capital Markets division of PwC in the UK, who kindly provided its 2015 Global Top 100 Companies by market capitalisation ranking as the basis for this research and report. The report and its findings have been informed by Capital Markets’ experience and expertise, but FutureBrand is responsible for all views, opinion and data emerging from this research unless otherwise stated.