In a report published by consultancy firm Brand Finance, PwC came second to Lego in its rankings of the world’s most powerful brands, and is one of only 12 companies to receive the top score of AAA+ on the 'Brand Strength Index' (BSI).
It was followed by Red Bull, Unilever, McKinsey, Burberry, Rolex, L’Oreal, Coca Cola, Ferrari, Nike and Disney. Deloitte was given a AAA rating, while EY and KPMG were given an AAA- rating.
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.
David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance said, "All the Big Four accountancy firms have very strong brands. PwC is just slightly ahead."
Brand Finance also released its Global Brand 500 list, which ranks brands not by power, but soley by value. In this PwC was ranked 59th of 500, rising from 63 last year, with a value of $17.3bn (£11.2bn), a 4% increase since 2014. Deloitte was ranked 72, rising from 76 last year. Its value was said to be $14.6bn, a 7% increase. KPMG was ranked number 95, rising from 97 with a value of $12.3bn, a 6% increase on last year. EY was number 112 of the 500, falling from 105 last year with its value of $10.9bn staying roughly the same.
PwC has historically fared better than its Big Four rivals in both brand strength and value. In 2009, for example, the PwC brand was valued at $9.64bn, compared to Deloitte’s $7bn.
Brand Finance calculates the values of the brands in its league tables using the ‘Royalty Relief approach’. This approach involves estimating the likely future sales that are attributable to a brand and calculating a royalty rate that would be charged for the use of the brand.
PwC and Deloitte's global revenues, however, have remained close throughout this time. In 2009 PwC recorded global revenues of $26.2bn, while Deloitte’s was $26.1bn. In 2014 Deloitte’s revenue was slightly higher at $34.2bn compared to PwC’s $34bn.
Apple was ranked the world’s most valuable brand, at $128.3bn, an increase of 23% on 2014. Twitter was the world's fastest growing brand, appearing on the table for the first time ranked 328, rising from $1.5 billion in early 2014 to $4.4 billion now.