Some U.S. cities have more top global brands than many large countries

As I wrote earlier this week, the United States dominates the list of the world’s leading brands with 167 of the top 500 global companies and an estimated brand value of $1.3 trillion, more than 40 percent of the global total.

Today, with the help of my MPI colleagues Charlotta Mellander and Zara Matheson, I chart the geography of leading global brands across American cities and metros.

The map above shows the number of leading brands by metro. Forty-five metros have at least one top global brand. Not surprisingly, greater New York tops the list with 48 of the global 500 brands, nearly 10 percent. High-tech San Jose and Minneapolis-St. Paul are tied for second with nine each. Chicago is third with eight, followed by Atlanta with seven. San Francisco, Boston, Washington D.C., and Dallas have six each. Seattle has five; Houston four. Four additional metros have three brands, eight have two, and 21 are home to one global brand.

The second set of maps controls for population, charting the number of leading brands per million people. The picture now changes dramatically. Battle Creek, Michigan, takes the top spot, followed by Monroe, Louisiana, then San Jose, Fayetteville, Arkansas (home of Walmart), Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and Omaha, Nebraska. Under this new metric, New York falls to 12th place and Los Angeles drops all the way to 45th.

The third map above charts the estimated brand value for the 500 leading global brands across U.S. metros.

  • Again, greater New York tops the list with $333 billion* (more than 10 percent of total worldwide brand value) - a higher share of the global brand value than any non-US country.
  • Silicon Valley (San Jose) is $152 billion in brand value, more than China.
  • Seattle has a total brand value of $76.8 billion, followed by Atlanta with $74.7 billion, San Francisco with $73.7 billion, Chicago $62.2 billion, Minneapolis-St. Paul $61.6 billion, Dallas $57.1 billion, Fayetteville $48.2 billion and Charlotte $40.3 billion.

The recession might have drained some of America’s economic strength. But it's worth remembering that America still has the world’s greatest concentration of brands. With its largest cities having a greater brand value than most countries, the U.S. has a powerful economic asset at a time when dense, vibrant cities are a key factor in economic competitiveness.

*This post initially stated that New York has a total brand value of $33 billion. It's been corrected above.

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