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15 Brands Worth Investing In

15 Brands Worth Investing In

Investing is a risky business. Some companies succeed while others fail. But there are also some really strong companies out there with highly valued brands which are growing year by year and multiplying their profit. Interbrand made a list of the most valuable brands in the world for 2014. While evaluating them, Interbrand considered financial performance of branded products, ability to influence consumer’s behavior, and the prestige allowing them to charge premium prices and secure their future earnings. So, are you wondering what kind of investment could make you a millionaire? Hint: Tech companies are on the rise. Let’s have a look at the world’s most valued brands, the brands worth investing in:

H&M +16%

Brand value: $ 21,083 m

H&M’s expansion and growth is remarkable. The company increased new store openings by 10-15% every year, and this year is opening 375 stores, mostly in China and the US. Their online presence is expanding with HM.com, which is serving customers in parts of the US and Europe. H&M is now on the way to being both a respected fashion brand and cost-efficient. It is socially conscious and was honored for its values and ethical practices, named as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies in 2014. It was also ranked as #1 for using certified organic cotton around the globe.

Honda +17%

Brand value: $ 21,673 m

Honda’s Japanese cars and motorcycles are coming back to Formula 1 after 20 years out as an engine supplier for McLaren. This effort should differentiate Honda in the automotive industry and speed its growth. Their marketing campaign, “Sound of Honda/Ayrton Senna 1989,” won a Grand Prix at Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. The F1 race calendar is full of contestants in emerging countries, which are already big markets for Honda.

Oracle +8%

Brand value: $ 25,980 m

After 10 years of expansions and around 100 acquired companies that led to complex end-to-end back office solutions, Oracle decided to take a break. The new challenge facing the company is how to define itself and find its purpose. Marketing communications are focused on simplicity. Oracle is ensuring integrated experience for all businesses and compliance of its software for cloud computing.

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Amazon +25%

Brand value: $ 29,487 m

Amazon is considered to be one of the most approachable and accessible companies. Its focus on consumer satisfaction might be the key of their huge success. Their core business Amazon Prime is still growing and new extensions of their products such as Kindle Paperwhite and Fire Phone are bringing new customers. Amazon did not stop there and made one more step to “wow” them. Thanks to cooperation with Federal Aviation Administration, Amazon’s customers can use their devices while taking off and landing of a plane.

Cisco +6%

Brand value: $ 30,936 m

Connecting the previously unconnected, Cisco is another tech company which plays it well. Cisco wants to grow their presence in global marketplace, from IP phones used in offices to home network equipment to advertising and promotion events. Remarkable also is its speed-to-market, which increased from 3-5 years to only 12-18 months. Brand value is definitely influenced by the strong marketing Cisco is running – 20% of the company’s revenues are dedicated solely to marketing and sales activities.

Disney +14%

Brand value: $ 32,223 m

Disney is creative and innovative in its use of technology and its approach to global growth. Strategy based on these areas made Disney one of the most valued brands in the world this year. This 91-year-old company is not afraid to use new technology to analyze customers’ needs and personalize their experience. Disney started to cooperate with Jack Dorsey, Chairman of Twitter, and announced an exclusive deal with Marvel Programming for Netflix. It also acquired the YouTube network Maker Studios. The huge success of Frozen opened new doors and opportunities, and Russia and China now belong to the largest markets for Disney movies.

BMW +7%

Brand value: $ 34,214 m

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BMW is keeping their leading position among best-in-class automotive brands. Ongoing activities aiming to create a sustainable future for mobility, such as the Efficient Dynamics initiative, are continually increasing BMW’s brand value. The company is fueled by innovation and is currently developing solutions to lower carbon emissions across the brand’s range. Besides that, it is the consistent communication and strategy clarity which drives BMW to be one of the most successful brands around the globe.

Mercedes Benz +8%

Brand value: $ 34,338 m

Not a BMW person? Mercedes Benz is another automotive company that is in the top 20 brands according to Interbrand. New models and fresh attitude towards their brand strategy brought record sales – in the previous year Mercedes Benz increased their financial performance by 14% worldwide and 9,5% in the US. Mercedes offers comfort, performance and prestige. Everything that customers expect from them. What’s more, Mercedes is developing new ways for sustainable mobility too, decreasing emissions and using intelligent energy system for hybrid vehicles. Customers are important to the brand and new features aiming to create a premium customer experience are definitely one of the reasons the value of Mercedes Benz is rising.

McDonalds +1%

Brand value: $ 42,254 m

One of the world most successful fast food chains is currently serving more than 70 millions of customers a day in 100 countries. McDonalds lately responded to consumers’ demands and added new healthier alternatives to their classic menu. Besides that, they created strategy to become a more ecological and ethical company. McDonalds’ goal is to purchase only verified and ecologically sustainable beef by 2016 and 100% sustainable palm oil, coffee and fish by 2020. The brand’s challenge nowadays is to create an image of high quality food.

Toyota +20%

Brand value: $ 42,392 m

Toyota is the winning brand among automotive companies for 2014 according to Interbrand. A crisis at the beginning of 2014 and a $1.2bn fine from the US Justice department didn’t stop the ambitious company from increasing its sales and keeping its position as a trustworthy company. High quality products, joyful advertising campaigns (e.g. “Go Fun Yourself”), but also its concern about social problems and untapped female labor force in the brand’s country of origin, are developing their positive image. Worthy to mention is their “Car of the Future,” the first zero emission hydrogen Fuel Cell vehicle, that they showcased at the Aspen Ideas Festival.

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Samsung +15%

Brand value: $ 45,462 m

This high-tech company is a strong player in many segments, currently fighting a battle in the smartphone industry with another giant, Apple. Samsung is developing new products and shaping the world we know with innovations: curved TV, virtual reality headsets, and wearable electronics are new products in their portfolio. The prognosis seems to be positive for Samsung.

Microsoft +3%

Brand value: $ 61,154 m

Big changes happened at Microsoft this year. New CEO Satya Nadella is an expert in company cloud computing, and his arrival signaled a new era for Microsoft. Satya switched from previous “Windows first” strategy to “mobile and cloud first.” Microsoft’s efforts to increase relevance and provide services and products customers want are working well. Cloud computing enterprise Windows Azure, strategically rebranded, and the personal voice assistant Cortana accompany the latest launch of Windows 8.1. The acquisition of the Minecraft company signals Microsoft’s high ambitions in mobile, cloud computing and games industry.

Coca Cola +3%

Brand value: $ 81,563 m

This famous soft drink brand is nowadays challenged by many market changes. Consumers are more conscious about health and Coca Cola is evolving together with their customers. Coca Cola Life, a drink sweetened naturally with stevia, was launched in 2013 in Argentina and Chile, and in 2014 in the US and UK. Ecology is big topic nowadays, and Coca Cola set a goal that by 2020 it will use its PlantBottle technology for all its bottles. In terms of marketing, Coca Cola is one of the role models. Its “Share a Coke” campaign increased its sales by 2%, its Facebook fan base by 25 millions, and servings to 1.9 billion a day.

Google +15%

Brand value: $ 107,439 m

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Google is one of the most ambitious and innovative companies in the world nowadays. Though Google is categorized as a search company, product development has gone far beyond such limited definition. Recently, they started to test self-driving cars and launched Project Loop – a global network of high altitude balloons bringing wi-fi to remote areas. Unfortunately, not every Google project meets success and the prognosis for Google Glass is not so bright anymore. Investments and acquisitions of Google in past years shows that company is interested in robotics, biotechnology, artificial intelligence and wearable technology. It is their vision, bravery and crazy ideas that make Google an outstanding brand.

Apple +21%

Brand value: $ 118, 863 m

The most valuable brand of 2014 according to Interbrand is Apple. The tech giant  introduced Apple Pay this year, a system which is allowing people to pay with their Apple devices, Apple Watch, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus, CarPlay and HomeKit. Apple is making life smarter, from wearable technology to communication over devices at home. This year the company acquired great talents such as Angela Ahrendts (ex-CEO of Burberry), Paul Deneve (ex-CEO of Yves Saint Laurent) and Jay Blahnik (a developer of Nike’s fuel band). Let’s see what ambitious Apple brings next year.

The world’s best companies have some things in common. All of them are taking responsibility for the future they are shaping, in terms of both sustainability and innovation. They create solutions around their customers’ current and future needs. These companies value talent, have a clear vision and are not afraid to invest in marketing. Only brands behaving like these are worthy to investing in.

Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on January 2, 2019

How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

Do you know what mental health experts point to as the biggest cause of stress in the United States today? If you said “money,” then ding, ding, we have a winner!

Three out of four adults today report feeling stressed out about money at least part of the time. People are either worried about not having enough money or whether they’re putting the money they do have to use in the best possible way.

Your money is either in charge of you or you’re in charge of it, there’s no middle ground. Using some type of personal finance software can help alleviate some of that money stress and better allow you to manage your money effectively. Without it, you may just be setting yourself up for constant financial worry. Life is already tough enough and there’s no need to make it more difficult by simply hoping your money issues will all work out in your favor. Hint: they won’t.

This guide will help you to understand how personal finance software can better assist with both accomplishing long term financial goals and managing day-to-day aspects of life.

Whether it’s tracking the savings plan for your child’s college fund or making sure you won’t be in the red with the month’s grocery budget, personal finance software keeps all this information in one convenient place.

What Exactly is Personal Finance Software?

Think of it like the dashboard in your car. You have a speedometer to tell you how fast you’re going, an odometer to tell you how far you’ve traveled, and then other gauges to tell you things like how much gas is in the tank and your engine temperature. Personal finance software is essentially the same thing for your money.

When you install this software on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, it helps to track your money — how much is going in, how much is going out, and its growth. Most personal finance software programs will display your budget, spending, investments, bills, savings accounts, and even retirement plans, levels of debt, and credit score.

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How It Leads to Financial Improvement

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but people who regularly monitor their finances end up wealthier than those who don’t. When you were a kid, keeping track of all of your money in a porcelain piggy bank was pretty easy. As we get older, though, our money becomes spread out across things like car payments, mortgages, retirement funds, taxes, and other investments and debts. All of these things make keeping track of our money a lot more complicated.

Some types of personal finance software can help make things a little less complicated, setting you up to meet financial goals and taking away some of the stress associated with money.

Even if you already have a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) some type of personal finance software can be of great benefit. Whereas CFPs focus on the big picture of your money, they don’t handle the day-to-day aspects that determine your overall financial health.

It’s also not nearly as complicated as you might think and can take out a lot of the tedium that comes with doing everything on an Excel spreadsheet or with a pad and pencil.

Types of Personal Finance Software

When it comes to personal finance software, it generally fits into two categories: tax preparation and money management.

Tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block’s software can help with everything from filing income taxes to IRS rules and regulations and even estate plans. Plus, there’s the benefit of filing online and getting your refund check a lot faster than if you were to mail off your forms after waiting in line at the post office.

For the purpose of this article, however, will be focusing more on the personal finance software that aids with money management.

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Money management personal finance software will help you to see the health of your cash flow, pay down debt, forecast for expenses and savings, track investments, pay bills, and do a host of other things that 30 years ago would have practically required a team of accountants.

When to Use Personal Finance Software

So far we’ve gone over what exactly personal finance software is and how it can be a benefit to your money. The next logical step in this whole equation is determining when it should be used and how is the best way to go about getting started using it.

Below are four of the most common and practical ways to use personal finance software. If all or any of these apply to you and your money, then downloading some type of personal finance software is going to be a smart move.

1. You Have Multiple Accounts

There’s a good chance that when it comes to your money, it’s in more than one place. Sure, you probably have a checking account, but you may also have a savings account, money market account, and retirement accounts such as an IRA or 401k.

If you’re like the average American, you probably have two to three credit cards as well. Fifty percent of Americans also don’t have loyalty to just one bank and spread their money across multiple banks.

Rather than spending hours typing in every detail of every account you have into a spreadsheet, many programs allow you to easily import your account information. This will help to eliminate any mistakes and give you a bird’s eye view of everything at once.

2. You Want to Automate Some or All of Your Payments

Please don’t say that you’re still writing out paper checks and dropping each bill in the mailbox. While it’s noble that you’re doing your part to keep postal workers employed, we’re 18 years into the 21st century and you can literally pay every bill online now.

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There’s no need to log into every account you have and type in your routing number either.

With personal finance software you can schedule automatic payments and transfers between all of your imported accounts. Automatic transfers will help to make sure you have the necessary funds in the right account to ensure all bills are paid on the appropriate date. Late fees are annoying and do nothing but cost you money. It’s time that you said goodbye to them once and for all.

3. You Need to Streamline Your Budget

Perhaps the best feature of personal finance software is that it allows you track everything going in and out of your virtual wallet.

Nearly every brand of personal finance software out there has easy-to-read graphs and charts that allow you track every cent you spend or earn, should you choose. You might be pretty amazed when you see just how much you spent on eating out last month or if you splurged a little more than you should have on Christmas gifts last year.

Every successful business on the planet has a budget and using personal finance software can help you trim the fat on your spending in ways that affect your everyday life.

4. You Have Specific Goals to Meet

Maybe it’s paying off debt or saving for up something like a European vacation. Whatever your financial goal is, whether it’s long-term or short-term, personal finance software programs are one of the savviest ways to go about reaching those goals.

You can do everything from set spending alerts to notify you when you’re over budget to automating what percentage of your paycheck goes to things like retirement investments. The personal finance software that you choose should show you exactly how close you are to hitting those goals at any given time.

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How to Get Started

From AceMoney to Mint and Quicken, there ’s no shortage of personal finance software apps out there. Many of these programs are free to download and will allow you to pay bills, invest, monitor your net worth and credit profile, and even get a loan with the swipe of a finger.

Other programs may only offer you limited services and will require a one-time fee or subscription to unlock all that they offer. These fees can often vary from as little as two dollars to 50 bucks a month.

It’s best to start off with the free version and then gauge whether you’re able to accomplish everything you’d like or if it’s worth exploring one of the paid options. Often times the subscription programs come with assistance from financial planning and investment experts — so that can be a real benefit.

When deciding which personal finance software program to use, it’s also important to look at how many accounts you wish to monitor. Certain programs limit the number of accounts you can add. Be sure that if you have checking, credit card, and investment accounts to monitor, that you choose a service that can monitor them all.

Finally, when looking around for the right personal finance software that meets your needs, make sure that you’re comfortable with the program’s interface. It shouldn’t be expected that you recognize every single feature instantly, but if the features don’t seem readable and manageable to you, then you’re not as likely to use it and get the full benefits.

Final Thoughts

Personal finance software can go a long way in helping you to take control of your money and meeting your financial goals. It’s important to note, however, that some focus more on budgeting and expense tracking while others prioritize investing portfolios and income taxes. Explore several different programs and read reviews to find the one that’s right for you.

In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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