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PwC has most powerful brand of Big Four

PwC still has one of the top ten most powerful global brands, but its strength is in decline

The firm came 8th in the 2017 ranking of the world’s most powerful brands by consultancy firm Brand Finance. It is one of only 10 companies to receive the top score of AAA+ on the "Brand Strength Index" (BSI).

Deloitte just fell out of the top 20 while EY was ranked 30th and KPMG was placed in 60th place.

BSI is calculated by a number of factors, including “emotional connection”, financial performance and sustainability. Brand Finance analyses marketing investment, brand equity – defined as the goodwill accumulated with customers, staff and other stakeholders - and the impact of those factors on business performance.

While PwC will be happy to remain in the top 10, its brand power has been waning. In 2015 it was named the world’s second most powerful brand behind only Lego and in 2016 it slipped to fourth.

Danish toy giant Lego reclaimed number one spot this year while the rest of the top ten included (in order): Google, Nike, Ferrari, Visa, Walt Disney, NBC, PwC, Johnson & Johnson and McKinsey.

Brand Finance also calculates the world’s 500 most valuable brands. This year Google has replaced Apple at the top of the table with a brand value of $109.5bn (£86.9bn). Google’s brand value rose during 2016 by 24% (from $88.2bn) whilst Apple’s declined from $145.9bn to $107.1bn.

PwC was again the top performing of the Big Four in 66th place with a value of $18.5bn. Deloitte was next in 77th with a value of $16.7bn, then EY in 98th ($13.35). Meanwhile KPMG was outside the top 100, coming in at 124th with a value of $10.9bn.

Financial services companies comprised 20% of the Global 500. China, according to the report, was also a big winner regarding brand growth as its middle class becomes more prominent and spends more.

Last year, PwC replaced Deloitte as the world's largest firm by fee income. The megafirm saw global fee income rise by 4% to $35.356bn (£24.413bn), some $156m ahead of Deloitte which brought in fee income of $35.2bn, up 3%.

Originally published in Economia on 2 February 2017.