Top US brands for 2008 reveal winners and losers
While a brand may be an intangible asset, it is still a key component of the total valuation of a company - and of a company's financial health - according to CoreBrand, which has tracked the latest changes in America's top 100 brand rankings.
The top two positions in the annual CoreBrand Corporate Branding Index were again filled by the Coca-Cola Company and Johnson & Johnson, which have remained at the top since 2004.
Gains and losses But who is winning the battle for an increased share of corporate reputation? Harley Davidson continued to succeed in 2008 (at fourth place), having moved up five places since 2004 and two places since 2007. However, Starbucks' meteoric rise in brand stature slowed slightly, having moved up three places in 2007 compared to twelve places since 2004.
The retail industry took it on the chin as popular brands stalled in the face of the current economic downturn (and a consequent reduction in consumer spending). Wal-Mart's ranking has dropped by 11 places since 2004 and 8 places since 2007. Home Depot also lost ground, falling 34 places since 2004, although dropping by only 5 places since 2007.
Rival brands do battle Rivalries were also found in the automotive sector where Toyota struggled to maintain its lead while American manufacturers continue to fight back. Toiletries was also an interesting category, with firms such as Revlon, Estee Lauder and L'Oreal having put a great deal of effort into their brands. These companies all saw significant increases in brand rankings in 2008.
Companies that dropped rapidly through the ranking table included Whirlpool, Nestle, Kraft Foods, Sara Lee, and Motorola, while those rising most rapidly included Bayer, Visa, Mattel, MasterCard, Fruit of the Loom, Nissan, and Toshiba.
Microsoft suffered too Microsoft's corporate brand has declined over the past four years. In 2004 the company was ranked at number 11 (out of the 1,200 companies included in the index), while in 2007 the company has dropped to number 59.
The effect of Apple's "Hi, I'm a MAC" advertising campaign may have taken its toll on Microsoft, CoreBrand suggested. The launching of a series of new products following a long dormant period may however have a positive effect on the Microsoft brand.