The most successful brands of 2021

Posted: 08/02/2022

Author: Fishtank

From Apple to Facebook and Google, the most successful brands globally have had to master the art of communication, stand out from the crowd and commit to consistency.


Looking into the most valuable brands worldwide in 2021¹, we’ve developed a Brand Perception Index, ranking the most successful brands worldwide on different factors such as press sentiment², search visibility³, social following⁴, as well as the number of ‘excellent’ Trust Pilot reviews⁵. 


According to our Brand Perception Index, the top ten most successful brands of 2021 are:


  • Amazon (valued at $149.25bn)

    Although listed as the second most valuable brand worldwide, Amazon takes the crown for the most successful brand when it comes to brand perception. The e-commerce and digital streaming brand has the third-highest amount of positive press (28%) compared to others and ‘excellent’ company Trustpilot reviews (31%).
    Amazon also has a huge social following of over 36.8 million, with 24.9 million users searching for ‘Amazon’ every month – that’s a lot of people!Since it first launched, Amazon has had a clear ambition to become the most customer-centric company in the world. Focussing on a marketing approach completely designed around customer needs and interests, the brand has prioritised customers over any other factor by monitoring customer behaviour and intensive customer research.


  • Nike (valued at $42.54bn)

    With over 240 million social followers across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, Nike takes the silver medal in our list of successful brands.Nike has optimised the use of Instagram to the max. With the majority of their following on this platform (194.5m), the brand uses powerful paid ads and organic posts as well as effective collaborations to boost referrals to the website and increase social reach and engagement.Nike is the only sportswear brand to make it the most valued and most successful list. With a clear-cut brand identity as a sportswear brand, Nike is also a master in storytelling. Because its founders were athletes, the brand can tell authentic stories that its target audience can relate to, resulting in a monthly search volume of over 1.8 million.


  • Instagram (valued at $32.01bn)

    Interestingly, we found that although Instagram lacked a high volume of ‘excellent’ Trustpilot reviews (12%), the brand was highly successful in all the other data points.Instagram has the largest social media following (560.7m) across all social media brands, with nearly a quarter (24%) of press coverage presenting a positive sentiment and 7.5 million users searching for the platform monthly.We believe the brands’ popularity arises from a thorough understanding of its target audience, adopting an innovative and progressive mindset to keep up to date with trends. For example, Instagram has implemented new features such as stories and reels to stay competitive with other social media platforms like TikTok.


  • Disney (valued at $44.18bn)

    As Walt Disney said himself, “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” Well, his dream indeed came true, as Disney is undoubtedly one of the most successful brands worldwide!The multinational entertainment and media conglomerate has over 94 million social media followers, with 368 thousand online users searching for the brand per month.Tapping into memories can be an effective marketing strategy, and Disney does this well. The brand’s use of nostalgia has reinforced years of customer loyalty. For example, the revival of old classics such as Winnie the Pooh and Jungle Book has allowed Disney to implement nostalgia into their marketing campaigns.


  • Mercedez Benz (valued at $50.87bn)

    We meet Mercedez Benz halfway through our Brand Perception Index, with 27% of Trustpilot reviews rated ‘excellent’ and a chart-topping 32% of press coverage, including a positive sentiment.The luxury vehicle brand has over 61.6 thousand followers across social media, mainly from Facebook and a monthly search volume of 165 thousand.Due to increased competition in the luxury car industry and changing consumer attitudes about Mercedes Benz, the brand has recently shifted its marketing strategy to portray a more lifestyle-oriented side and target a larger audience. As they aim to hone in on a younger audience, we expect to see an increase in their online audience.


  • Facebook (valued at $36.25bn)

    Although the brand was ranked in 19th place by value in the most valuable brands worldwide in 2021, the social media and networking giant is the 6th most successful brand in our Brand Perception Index.

    Facebook is the most popular brand with online users, boasting the highest search volume on the list (45.5M per month). The brand also has a significant social media presence with over 210.15M followers across Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

    Social engagement helps you build trust and authority as well as portray brand personality, so it’s no surprise Facebook makes it into the top ten!


  • Google (valued at $196.81bn)

    We all love Google (apart from those frequent core updates!). With a monthly search volume of over 24.9M (the same as Amazon), Google also has the highest amount of ‘excellent’ Trustpilot reviews (60%).Although Google didn’t take the top spot in our index, the brand did rank higher than competitors Microsoft, who failed to make the top ten (14th).Market research into consumer behaviour is essential when promoting your brand, and Google does this well thanks to its extensive access to data. Google focuses on positioning itself as a holistic brand rather than product-specific marketing. Recent market research by the brand showed engagement increased when Google Maps was presented as ‘Maps by Google’, and ‘Google Photos’ was called ‘Photos by Google’.


  • Apple (valued at $408.25bn)

    With the highest brand value in our top ten, Apple has a great brand perception to match, ranking higher than close competitors Microsoft and Samsung.

    The renowned technology brand is searched for over 1.2 million times a month and has a social media following of over 48.4 thousand. Unexpectedly, even though the brand has a high positive press coverage sentiment (22%) and online visibility, we found that Apple had the lowest amount of ‘excellent’ Trustpilot reviews (10%) compared to others in our top ten.A well thought out brand identity has the potential to make any brand stand out from the crowd, build your reputation and portray your brand values to attract ideal customers, and Apple has done just that. For example, many of Apple’s competitor’s products are just as good as its own, but the iconic Apple brand is enough to attract customers for life.


  • Toyota (valued at $54.1bn)
    Just pipping the bottom spot in our Brand Perception Index is another automotive manufacturer, Toyota. It must be in the industry genes, as the brand ranks 2nd after Mercedes Benz for positive press sentiment and the same amount of ‘excellent’ company reviews on Trustpilot (27%).We found that 246 thousand people search for ‘Toyota’ monthly, and over 25 million follow them across social media platforms (15% more than fellow vehicle manufacturer Tesla).Toyota uses digital marketing, embracing social media in particular, to increase customer engagement and retention. The brand focuses on multi-channel campaigns across various platforms and actively interact with followers on social media to provide a more personalised experience and build brand loyalty.


  • McDonald’s (valued at $45.87bn)

    So, we really are lovin’ it! McDonald’s makes the top ten with over 5M searches per month and over 90K social media followers across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. The fast-food brand is the only consumable brand to make it into our top ten, beating Coca-cola, who just missed out (11th).Although McDonald’s has a large online audience, they are one of the brands to have received the least amount of ‘excellent’ reviews on Trustpilot (12%). The fast-food giant has 39,000 branches in 115 countries, so the reviews referenced make up only a tiny proportion of the thousands of customers they serve each day.McDonald’s uses an integrated international market communications approach to ensure the consistency of its brand and messages worldwide. Localisation is essential for a global company to adapt to the local market. While McDonald’s offers a standardised menu globally, they have introduced specific menu items depending on the country and work with a professional translation provider to ensure accurate communications, including advertising and marketing campaigns and menus.


How can you be a successful brand in 2022?

A successful brand is built on a deep connection, just like any other type of relationship. To build up such trust and loyalty, we recommend the following first steps to get a head start:


  • Brand identity
    Brand identity includes the choice of business name, the design of your logo, the colours and fonts you use, and even the “tone of voice” you use; developing a solid brand identity is a critical factor in a business’s success.

    A well thought out brand identity has the potential to make any brand stand out from the crowd, build your reputation and portray your brand values to attract ideal customers.
  • Brand values
    Don’t just tell us what your brand stands for; embody the beliefs through your brand. Consumers are smart and will be able to spot if you aren’t fully invested in your values. Identify something you strongly believe in; for example, Disney stands for creating magical experiences for families.
  • Brand storytelling
    Building an unforgettable brand story starts with being genuine. How has your brand revolutionised, and what journey have you been on to get where you are now? For example, Fishtank Agency came from humble beginnings; and this will often resonate with other businesses. We started in a small office (the Tank) in the heart of with big ambitions, a laptop and Roger the cat.


To keep up to date with what’s going on in the tank, and our latest insight on digital marketing, branding and web development, make sure to follow us on Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook or Instagram.


Methodology and Sources

To create our Brand Perception Index, we gathered relevant data for Statista’s twenty most valuable brands looking at press sentiment², search visibility³, social following⁴ and the number of ‘excellent’ Trust Pilot reviews. From the data found, we were able to pull together the average ranking position for each brand to collate the top ten rankings.


  1. https://www.statista.com/statistics/264826/most-valuable-brands-worldwide-in-2021/
  2. Press sentiment: https://www.meltwater.com/en – Correct as of 25th Jan 2022
  3. Search volumes: https://www.semrush.com/  – Correct as of 25th Jan 2022 
  4. Social media following from one main profile on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram  – Correct as of 25th Jan 2022
  5. Number of ‘excellent’ reviews from one main profile: https://uk.trustpilot.com/  – Correct as of 25th Jan 2022

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