Billionaire Mukesh Ambani's oil-to-telecom conglomerate Reliance Industries has been ranked the second biggest brand after Apple on the FutureBrand Index 2020.
"This year's highest entrant at number two, Reliance Industries excels on every attribute," FutureBrand said, releasing its 2020 Index.
One of the most profitable companies in India, Reliance is, "very well respected" and "seen as behaving ethically" as well as being associated with "growth", "innovative products" and "great customer service", it said. "In particular, people have a strong emotional connection with the organisation."
FutureBrand, which is a global brand transformation company, said part of Reliance's success could be attributed to Mukesh Ambani's recasting of the firm as a one-stop-shop for Indians.
"The chairman built on the existing petrochemicals business, transforming it into a digital behemoth designed to meet every customer need.
"Today, this company is engaged in a number of sectors including energy, petrochemicals, textiles, natural resources, retail, and telecommunications. Now that Google and Facebook are taking equity stakes in the firm, we may see Reliance jostling for the top spot in the next Index," it said.
FutureBrand said six years on from the first FutureBrand Index, the world has changed dramatically, priorities have shifted and the globe's top 100 companies are dealing with challenges unthinkable even 12 months ago.
"The FutureBrand Index is a global perception study that reorders PwC's Global Top 100 Companies by Market Cap on perception strength rather than financial strength," it said. "While the FutureBrand Index 2020 has uncovered a number of seismic shifts in the way companies work and how they present themselves to the outside world, one key theme has stood out: individuality."
The 2020 list is topped by Apple, while Samsung is ranked third, followed by Nvidia, Moutai, Nike, Microsoft, ASML, PayPal and Netflix.
Reliance ranks 91st on PWC 2020 list, it said.
"A slew of new entrants to our Index include ASML Holdings, PayPal, Danaher, Saudi Aramco, and American Tower Corporation. In total, there are 15 new entrants this year, seven of which make it into the top 20, including Reliance Industries slotting in at number two," it said.
The FutureBrand Index is not based on consumer research. Unlike most other rankings, the Index offers a rigorous assessment of how prominent companies are doing and are likely to do over the next few years.
"We are living in unprecedented times," it said, adding the world is living through the worst healthcare crisis in a century.
"But out of this will emerge a reimagined world, and it will be up to leading companies and the people who work for them to respond to new demands and new expectations," it said.
The FutureBrand Index 2020 examines the world's leading firms and determine how they have fared over the past year.
"Our unique perspective shines a light on the innovators as well as the brands which have successfully navigated sector-specific rough waters. As we discovered, it can be premature to write off a company in difficulty and risky to extol the virtues of a seemingly unbreakable brand," it added.