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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 August 20, 2019

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

Finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. And that’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

In this article, we will explore ways on how to set financial goals and then actually meet them with ease.

5 Steps to Set Financial Goals

Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task but if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps:

1. Be Clear About the Objectives

Any goal (let alone financial) without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream. And this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it is for. It could be anything like kid’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car etc.

Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives, however small they may be, that you foresee in the future and put a value to it.

2. Keep Them Realistic

It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going out of the line will definitely hurt your chances of achieving them.

It’s important that you keep your goals realistic in nature for it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

3. Account for Inflation

Ronald Reagan once said – “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman”. And this quote sums up the best what inflation could do your financial goals.

Therefore account for inflation whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far away in the future.

For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years hence, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is mere 3%. So always account for inflation.

4. Short Term vs Long Term

Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach towards achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It is important to bifurcate goals in short term and long term.

As a rule of thumb, any financial goal, which is due in next 3 years should be termed as short term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short term vs long term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

More on this later when we talk about how to achieve financial goals.

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5. To Each to His Own

The journey of setting financial goals is an individualistic affair i.e. your goals are your own goals and are determined by your want to achieve them. A lot of times we get on the bandwagon of goal setting only to realize later on that it was not meant for us.

It is important that your goals are actually your goals and not inspired by someone else. Take a hard look at this step at all the goals you’ve set for after this step, you will be on the way to achieve them.

By now, you would be ready with your financial goals, now it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

11 Ways to Achieve Your Financial Goals

Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a 2 step process –

  • Ensuring healthy savings
  • Making smart investments

You will need to save enough; and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals. So let’s get down to ensuring healthy savings.

Ensuring Healthy Savings

Self realization is the best form of realisation and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

1. Track Expenses

The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your monthly expenses. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you would be surprised to see how small expenses add up to a sizeable amount.

Also categorize those expenses into different bucket so that you know which bucket is eating the most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pump up your savings rate.

2. Pay Yourself First

Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classical mistake which almost everyone of us do. We pay ourselves last!

Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and then manage all the expenses from the rest.

The best way to actually implement is to put the savings on automatic mode i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (for example – mutual funds, retirement corpus etc) every month.

Taking the automatic route will make us lose control of our money and hence will compel us to manage in what’s left with us thereby increasing the savings rate.

3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick with It

Budgeting is the best to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be made.

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Nowadays, several money management apps and wallets can help you do this automatically. It’s easy and who knows, you may just end up doing what people fail to do.

At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

4. Rise Again Even If You Fall

Let’s be realistic. It’s not like the world will come to an end if you made one mistake. This isn’t called leniency but discipline.

If you fail to meet your budget for a month, don’t give up the entire effort just like that. Instead, start again.

Remember that flexible plans are the most realistic plans. So go forward and try to follow your financial goals as planned but if for some reason, the plan gets out of hand for you, do not give up on it just yet. This has a lot to do with your psychology rather than any material commitment.

All you have to do is to stay on the road and vow to stay on it, no matter how much you fall down.

5. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

Make Savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counter intuitive to many but there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Usually weekends are expensive. Make it a habit and you would in turn be saving a great deal.

If you are travelling buff, try to travel during off season. Your outlay will be much less.

If you go out for shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

So the key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

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6. Talk About It

Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission. And it would be rather easy to lose the grip over your discipline.

Therefore in order to stay the course, it is advisable that you keep yourself surrounded with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

7. Maintain a Journal

For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

So if you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

Use this journal to write down all essential points such as your short term, mid term and long term goals, your current sources of income, your regular expenses which you are aware of and any committed expenses which are of recurring nature.

When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energised to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot more easier for you to follow you and track your progress.

At this point, you should be ready with your financial goals and would be doing brilliantly with savings; now it’s time to talk about the big daddy – Investments.

Making Smart Investments

Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However savings when invested wisely can do wonders and we are at that stage where we will talk about making smart investments.

8. Consult a Financial Advisor

Investments doesn’t come naturally to most of us therefore rather than dabbling with it ourselves, it is wise to consult a financial advisor.

Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

9. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about them.

Just like “no one is born a criminal”, no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference.

Do you remember we talked about bifurcating financial goals in short term and long term?

It is here where that classification will help.

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So as a general rule, for all your short term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less as compared to equity instruments.

10. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

Einstein once remarked about compounding,

Compound Interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.

So make friends with this wonder kid. And sooner you become friends with it, quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

Start investing early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

11. Measure, Measure, Measure

All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments; taking stock of how our investments are doing.

If there is one single step where everything (so far) can go wrong, it is at this step – Measuring the Progress.

If we don’t measure the progress timely, then we would be shooting in the dark. We wouldn’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not; whether financial advisor is doing a decent job; whether we are moving closer to our target or not.

Do measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

The Bottom Line

This completes the list of tips for you to set financial goals and actually achieve them with not so great difficulty.

As you can see, all it requires is discipline. But guess that’s the most difficult part!

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Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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