IBM passes Microsoft in brand rankings
Google, Apple, Amazon.com, Zara and Nintendo are among this year's top gainers in Interbrand's annual 'Best Global Brands' ranking, while financial services giants such as Merrill Lynch, Citi, and Morgan Stanley have slipped down the list.
In first position, Coca-Cola remains the best global brand for the eighth year in a row. But a notable shift in this year's rankings was made by IBM, which took second place from Microsoft (which is now in third place). Google also scraped into the top ten list of brands (in tenth position), having gained significantly from 20th place in 2007.
Reflecting the economy According to Jez Frampton, global CEO for Interbrand, "This ranking is a reflection of the global economy, including the current credit crisis in the US, the growth of emerging markets, and an increased emphasis on sustainability. These are all key trends that resulted in brands rising or falling in this year's list."
Indeed, the increasing complexities of the global economy are clearly reinforcing the importance of protecting and growing a brand. The brand is arguably a company's most valuable asset, and it should be built up and protected during harsh economic times.
Factors affecting brands Movement in the list seems to confirm that the tumultuous credit markets are affecting leading financial services brands. But some strong industry leaders have performed well, including HSBC (27) and credit card companies Visa (a new entrant at 100) and American Express (15), all of which have been able to prosper during the credit crisis, due in part to their trusted brands.
Emerging market growth has also had a significant impact on this year's ranking. As customers in such markets accumulate wealth and seek to demonstrate it, the ownership of luxury brands provide a clear indication that a consumer belongs to the "new elite". As a result, brands such as Porsche (75), Ferrari (93) and Prada (91) have all experienced greater success in the world's emerging markets.
Sustainability counts, too Not surprisingly, sustainability is driving brand value across all sectors, from automotive to consumer products, to financial services. As a result, auto-makers such as Honda (20) and Mercedes (11) are creating new, more fuel-efficient car models. In fact, Honda was the only car manufacturer to report better US sales in 2008 than in 2007.
Companies such as GE (4) and BP (84) also increased their brand valuation by investing a substantial amount in sustainable business practices. BP also rose among the ranks as a result of its leadership position in working toward greener energy, and investing in sustainable energy sources.