What are the top 10 most recognisable brands in the world?

A company’s brand is often integral to its financial success. Here, we talk you through the top 10 most recognisable brands in the world, and how you can take a position on their shares.

Apple

Apple is the largest company in the world, so it is only fitting that it also has the most recognisable brand. Consumers all over the planet own Apple products – from iPhones and iPads, to Apple Watches and iPods – which can help to explain the company’s brand recognition.

There are many theories behind the brand logo of a bitten apple. Some point towards the biblical story of Eve eating an apple from the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden. Others say that the bite in the apple is meant to signify a ‘byte’ of data. This is known among brand creators as a ‘wink’ – a purposefully humorous or hidden message within a brand that is not common knowledge.

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Apple’s current branding was shaped to a large extent by the company’s founder, Steve Jobs. The initial logo was the current incarnation of the bitten apple, but instead of monochrome black it was in the colours of the rainbow. The monochrome logo currently in use took form in 1998, and it has helped to establish Apple’s reputation for minimalism.

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Google

The Google brand is engrained in the minds of anyone who has ever used the eponymous search engine. The simple logo, which is the word ‘Google’ colourised in blue, red, yellow and green has gone through some redesigns – most recently in 2015.

The ‘e’ at the end of the logo is at an angle to serve as a reminder that the company will always be a bit unconventional, according to Google’s design blog. Aside from their standard logo, Google also creates various ‘Google Doodles’ on days of significance or to recognise the achievements of a person on their birthday throughout the year. These are always customised for a specific day. Examples include Google Doodles for New Year’s Eve, Bastille Day, German Reunification Day or Marie Curie’s 144th Birthday.

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Google’s brand recognition is so strong that even after the company was incorporated under the Alphabet Inc. umbrella, people still refer to it as Google, and any internet searches are often referred to as ‘Googling’ for something, rather than other more generic search terms. This is due in part to the monopoly that the company has in the search engine world, with competitors such as Microsoft’s Bing proving to be less popular with consumers than Google’s service.

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Amazon

Amazon's brand is based on being the one-stop online store, where you can buy everything from books to fitness equipment or furniture. As Amazon has expanded to dominate the ecommerce business, so too has its brand become more and more recognisable.

The logo is the word ‘Amazon’, with an arrow going from the first ‘a’ to the ‘z’ – a ‘wink’ to customers that the company sells everything from a to z. Services that the company provides such as Amazon Prime have helped it to become trusted by consumers, with fast and reliable delivery almost always assured.

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Amazon’s brand recognition is also aided by the fame of its founder – Jeff Bezos – who is the world’s richest man. While this can be good for sales and increasing brand recognition, it can also be bad when disputes over low employee wages come to the forefront.

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Microsoft

Microsoft is the last of the tech giants on this list of brand recognition, but it is still the fourth most recognisable brand in the world. This is due in some part, to the fame of the company’s founder Bill Gates, who has regularly topped global rich lists as one of the wealthiest and most charitable individuals in the world.

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Microsoft has various brands under its umbrella, including Office and Windows, but both of these pale in comparison to the brand recognition of Microsoft as a global corporation. After it was founded by Gates and childhood friend Paul Allen in 1975, Microsoft helped to bring about the microcomputer revolution – which goes some way to explaining the company’s brand recognition in the present day.

The Microsoft logo has been unchanged since 2012, and it features four coloured boxes – red, green, blue and yellow – stacked up to make a larger box, next to ‘Microsoft’.

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Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola is the most recognisable non-tech brand on this list and the only drinks brand. The current Coca-Cola logo is largely unchanged from the 1950s, which is when the iconic red was introduced.

Aside from the core Coca-Cola brand, there are also a variety of different products which have been introduced to appeal to a wider audience. These include low sugar and flavoured varieties of the same drink, which are still marketed under the Coca-Cola umbrella.

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As with some of the other brands on this list, Coca-Cola has become a symbol for capitalism around the world – and the brand evokes strong imagery of America. This is helped by the company’s large advertising budget, which is more than the advertising budgets of Apple and Microsoft combined.

Coca-Cola recognises that a large part of its brand recognition comes from the culture surrounding its beverage, rather than people just drinking it to quench their thirst. The focus on culture has helped to establish Coca-Cola as one of the most recognisable brands in the world.

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Samsung

Samsung’s brand recognition was not always what it is today. Having been founded in 1969, the company initially struggled with stigma surrounding its products, with many saying they were cheap, mass-produced electronics.

This was a serious branding problem for the South Korean company, particularly as it was bursting onto a scene already saturated by Sony – which had considerable influence at the time, having been founded in 1946.

However, Samsung’s brand has become known for developing cutting edge technology with world-class designs, created by some of the top talent in the sector. As a result, Samsung’s brand recognition has grown constantly – particularly over the last ten years – to put this company firmly in this list of the top 10 most recognisable brands in the world.

Toyota

Toyota's brand recognition is helped by the company’s size – being the largest car producer in the world in terms of market capitalisation. The company was not always known as Toyota, instead being initially called Toyoda – the family name of the company’s founder.

The ‘d’ was dropped for a ‘t’ when it was suggested that it sounded crisper and sharper. Since then, the company has kept the logo largely unchanged. It is the word ‘TOYOTA’ set underneath three different ovals, two inside a larger one.

The Toyota brand has a deep meaning, especially for the Japanese market. The two middle ovals are representative of a ‘T’ for Toyota, and the outer oval is meant to signify the world embracing Toyota.

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Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz is the only European company on this list of the most recognisable brands in the world, and it is also the world’s most valuable luxury car brand. Mercedes-Benz is a division of Daimler, which also owns Chrysler – one of the ‘big three’ automobile manufactures in the US.

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The Mercedes-Benz logo has been around since 1925, which is when the three-pointed star was created following a merger between Benz & Cie and Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft. Since then, the logo for Mercedes-Benz has become an icon of the luxury car world, which has been helped by its unique design.

Mercedes-Benz often makes the top 10 most recognisable – as well as valuable – brands in the world. It beats out other luxury car brands such as Rolls Royce and Bentley, as well as less conventional electric car companies such as Tesla.

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McDonald’s

The brand recognition for McDonald's comes from its large number of daily customers – around 3.5 million people per day in the UK alone. The iconic golden arches are unchanged from the design that was first introduced in 1968, and the continuity of the McDonald’s branding over the last 50 years or so has ensured that it has significant recognition around the world.

The founders of McDonald’s – Richard and Maurice McDonald – were the creators of the modern-day method for creating fast food which is now used in the operations of many companies around the world. They were bought out of their respective stakes in the company by Ray Kroc, and it is Mr Kroc who is often credited with expanding McDonald’s and developing its brand into what it is today.

The McDonald’s brand is so recognisable because of the work that Ray Kroc did in the early years to change the way that road-side stop and eat diners were viewed in America. Rather than being a hangout for biker gangs and young men and women, he changed these restaurants into viable places where parents could sit down with their kids and enjoy a burger – which helped establish McDonald’s as the global brand that it is today.

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Disney

Disney's brand recognition comes from the popularity of its movies and theme parks. Characters and movie adaptations such as Mickey Mouse, Cinderella and Tarzan have captivated minds since the company was founded in 1923, and Disney has since grown to become one of the largest media companies in the world.

From its early beginnings as a brand that relied heavily on the popularity of Mickey Mouse, Disney has since grown to acquire a series of high-profile and industry-dominating companies. These include brands such as Marvel, Lucas Films and Pixar – the studios behind the Marvel superhero movies, Star Wars and Toy Story respectively.

Disney’s brand recognition can also be attributed to the popularity of its theme parks located around the world, including Paris, France and Orlando, Florida. Because of its domination of a large sector of the film making industry, Disney has become a brand which is recognised the world over, and it’s likely that its brand recognition will only increase.

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How to trade the world’s most recognisable brands

There are two main ways to trade the world’s most recognisable brands: with CFDs or spread bets. These are financial derivatives which means that when you trade them, you never take ownership of the underlying asset. This means that they can be used to speculate on an asset’s price both rising – known as going long – or falling – known as going short.

If you’d prefer to take ownership of any underlying shares by investing directly in a company, consider opening a share dealing account today. When you invest, you can profit from the shares increasing in value, or from any dividend payments that a company makes.

Many people choose to use CFDs and spread bets because they are leveraged products, meaning that you can put down a deposit – known as margin – and receive the same exposure as if you had committed the full size of the position.

However, you should make yourself familiar with the differences and benefits of these financial products before you use them to take a position on the markets. And, you should be sure to carry out a thorough fundamental and technical analysis of any of the companies on this list which you want to trade.

To trade the world’s most recognisable brands, follow the steps below:

  1. Research the company you want to trade
  2. Carry out analysis on that market – both fundamental and technical
  3. Create a live account when you’re ready to trade the live markets, or choose a demo account to practise
  4. Take steps to manage your risk
  5. Open, monitor and close your position

This information has been prepared by IG, a trading name of IG Markets Limited. In addition to the disclaimer below, the material on this page does not contain a record of our trading prices, or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instrument. IG accepts no responsibility for any use that may be made of these comments and for any consequences that result. No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. Consequently any person acting on it does so entirely at their own risk. Any research provided does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and needs of any specific person who may receive it. It has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such is considered to be a marketing communication. Although we are not specifically constrained from dealing ahead of our recommendations we do not seek to take advantage of them before they are provided to our clients. See full non-independent research disclaimer and quarterly summary.

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