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With a Mix of Brand Challenges in the Retail Industry

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Earlier this year, Brand Finance published its latest ranking of the world's most valuable brands. Displacing last year's number 1 Amazon, Apple has roared back to the top spot with an astonishing 74% brand value increase. The company's 2024 brand value growth is approximately equal to the total value of Starbucks’s, Mercedes-Benz’s, Tesla’s, and Porsche’s brands combined.

"Apple has grown its brand value through strategic diversification and premiumization, moving away from heavy reliance on iPhone sales towards ventures into wearables and services such as Apple TV subscriptions." According to Brand Finance research, more that 50% of respondents recognized Apple as expensive, but worth the price, reinforcing the brand's ability to demand a price premium. 

This article looks deeper into the success at Apple and explores the overall most valuable / strongest global brands. Finally, it summarizes the retail and apparel companies that emerged as the global brand value leaders in 2024.

The Next Apple Big Thing

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For multiple reasons, 2024 has copiously been on my mind. Maybe it is the magic of the holidays or thinking about the meaning of the New Year. Possibly for me personally, it is the number 24 as I was born on the 24th day of the month.  

Each new year is typically a moment of reflection for all of us. We think back on the previous year and a substantial number of us engage in the ritual of setting 'New Year Resolutions'. 

From the results of a new YouGov survey, just over one-third of USA adults plan to make New Year's resolutions or set specific identifiable goals for 2024. Adults under 20 (52%) are most like to do so, followed by 30-to-44-year-olds (44%). Older individuals are either wiser or simply seem to ignore this goal setting ritual. Only 27% of 45-to-64-year-olds and 18% of people 65 and older will set New Year's Resolutions. 

For 2024, the top 5 New Year Resolutions for Americans are:

Saving Money 23% Be Happy 22% Exercise More 21% Improve Physical Health 21% Eat Healthier 20%

The idea of preparing for a new year is a human condition with a long historical tradition. The month of JanuaryJanus2 which kicks off the New Year gets its name from the Roman god Janus. For the Romans, Janus was the god of beginnings and transitions. He presided over passages, doors, gates, and endings as well as between war and peace. He was usually depicted as having two older men faces looking in opposite directions, one towards the past and one towards the future. 

This reflective celebratory article analyzes the number 24 and provides some insights from the Chinese Zodiac Calendar of what is ahead in 2024.

Fun Facts About the Number 24

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The last ten years of my life have been transformational. Curiosity and continuous improvement have been the cornerstone of the evolution of my personal brand. 

The support and inspiration by many of you, plus the many questions on the formula of my personal brand, led to the writing of my first book titled: Unleash Your Brand: Discovering the Key to Monetizing Your Own Personal Brand.

This book is my gift to everyone around the world that has supported and encouraged my branding journey. In the over 200 pages, I share insights on how my personal brand started, how I monetized it, the impact of Artificial Intelligence, and the exact details of the formula that made it successful. 

The quotes from Jeff Bezos, Walt Disney, Vince Lombardi, Mark Twain, PT Barnum, and Ralph Waldo Emerson in this article are followed by my own words as written in the book. Scan the QR code if you would like to receive notification and a discount on the book's release. 

There is no better time than today to start your own personal branding journey to elevate the value of your corporate career and set you up to many more future options to monetize your individual value. According to Goldman Sachs, the creator economy will approach nearly a half-trillion dollars by 2027, up from $250 million today. Your share awaits and the faster you start, the more valuable your brand will become.

"Your Brand is What People Say About You When You are Not in the Room" - Jeff Bezos

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A key trait that has been driving my career and my entire life is continuous learning. Where this started was a mystery until last week. Couple of possibilities:

Is it the environment in being born in one continent, growing up in another, and then returning to the home country often in later age? Is it genetic from a family line of deep thinkers that aspired to more than their original start in life?

My father of 92 years passed away this past week in Italy and in his memory, let me share some thoughts on what has shaped his and my life and how I hopefully can help you understand yours better.

Continuous Learning Redemption from Hardship

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One year ago, I published a video titled “Leadership Skills for the Post COVID-19 ‘New Normal’.” Citing the accomplishments of Isaac Newton, in that video I summarized three leadership skills to ensure post-pandemic success.

During the ‘Great Plague’ of 1665, Newton was forced to self-isolate away from Cambridge in the countryside for over a year. This pandemic induced confinement became his ‘Annus Mirabilis’ or the ‘Year of Wonders’. 

A few weeks ago, a year after the video, I had the great pleasure of visiting Cambridge University in the United Kingdom. On a guided tour through the campus, similar inspiring  thoughts arose as a previous article on Florence Italy where I suddenly realized that I was walking the same streets as Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, and Michelangelo.

In addition to Newton, what are some of the other history luminaries that walked the streets of Cambridge? Why was the pandemic isolation the ‘Year of Wonders’ for Newton? What leadership skills will be critical for post-COVID-19 success?

Walking in the Footsteps of Inspiring Cambridge History

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As I wrote at the start of 2021, the impact of COVID-19 has delayed the arrival of the new roaring '20s projected pre-pandemic. As the Economist asked in sharing their thoughts on 2021, "do you feel lucky? The number 21 is connected with luck, risk, taking chances and rolling the dice. It’s the number of spots on a standard die, and the number of shillings in a guinea, the currency of wagers and horse-racing." 

From a leadership point of view, I do feel lucky as 2021 has turned out to be an outstanding year. At the beginning of the year, I started a new career as a retail CEO for a global security company. My social media channels continued to grow in 2021 with my favorite now becoming TD Insights Live on YouTube. 

Every minute 500 hours of new content is loaded on YouTube. Have appreciated that in 2021, my personal YouTube views grew by tens of thousands. A new in-home studio major re-design is in progress to expand my passion for visual communications into 2022. 

As we reach the end of year, it's time to reflect on my favorite lucky seven innovation leadership videos of 2021.

The World in 2050: Future Technology - Future Now

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The past three years as a CEO have been a whirlwind. After a successful corporate career in security and information technologies, I transitioned to TD Insights, a consulting firm focused on private equity retail innovation companies. From Artificial Intelligence (AI) to the Internet-of-Things (IoT), I had the great pleasure of working with leading companies from Silicon Valley to Ireland.

Earlier this year, I took on an additional CEO role for the retail business of a global security company. The rationale was very simple; I have researching the future of retail for some time, and this was an opportunity to now shape it.

There is no perfect way to prepare for the life of a CEO. The same continuous learning strategy adopted for TD Insights many years ago was transitioned into the new role. If you aspire to be a leader, you need to adapt, learn, and try new ideas, or your first time might be your last. Here are five critically important lessons that every CEO must learn.

Focus On the Customer

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The impact of COVID-19 has delayed the arrival of the new roaring '20s projected at the start of the year and it is now setting up a very interesting 2021. 

As the Economist asked in sharing their thoughts on the New Year, "do you feel lucky? The number 21 is connected with luck, risk, taking chances and rolling the dice. It’s the number of spots on a standard die, and the number of shillings in a guinea, the currency of wagers and horse-racing." 

From a leadership point of view, I do feel lucky in 2021, primarily because I have discovered the ONE word that will make this year successful. This one word is not complicated and you do not need a dictionary to understand its meaning. See if you can spot it as you read this year-end article. 

Continuous Introspection

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Let's face it, the last nine months have not been easy for any of us. Leveraging the title from one of my favorite spaghetti westerns, 2020 to date has been the year of "the Good (pre-pandemic), the Bad, and the Ugly."

Routines that were years in the making were disrupted in the blink of an eye. For me personally, it was a fast-paced globetrotting career boarding a flight every week, even after very early retirement two years ago to focus on private equity emerging technology companies. 

The global retail industry will decline over $1.6 trillion this year. We all very quickly learned the difference between essential and non-essential retailers.

But much like the hero in many of our movies, in the end multiple of us are emerging refreshed, stronger, and better prepared for a world that has forever changed. 

What will I NOT miss in the post COVID-19 "new normal"? What is the most important personal asset highlighted by this crisis? What world does the virus leave behind? How do these changes link to the retail industry?

A Reformed Road Warrior

In retrospect, the timeline of the pandemic to date makes for very interesting reading. 

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Prepare for the Worst and Plan for your Future Professional Best

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Having a substantial part of my family south of the red zone in Italy, I have been following very closely the progression of COVID-19. As of March 17, Italy had over 31,500 cases of Coronavirus with 2,503 people now deceased. To put that in perspective, Italy with 60 million people has already reached nearly 78% of the fatalities in China with a population reaching 1.4 billion. 

"Italy has one of the oldest populations in the world, with a median age of about 46 years old. Nearly 60% of the population is aged 40 and over, about 23% of which is over 65." The data from China confirms that fatalities increase with age. 


As exemplified by panic buying, COVID-19 feels overwhelming. Protecting your family and your health should continue to be paramount.

This article summarizes lessons for retail in China and where the industry transforms next. Several projected economic scenarios are also presented. Finally, we will explore the unforeseen new 'normal' that will emerge from digitally transformed stale business models. 

The Retail Apocalypse Wanes

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