Brand giants jostle for position

Google, Zara, Apple, and Nintendo are among this year’s top gainers in Business Week’s annual ranking of The Best Global Brands.

For the seventh consecutive year, the magazine teamed up with Interbrand, a leading brand consultancy, to publish a ranking of the top 100 global brands by brand value.

Reviving even a storied brand isn’t easy once consumers have a negative perception of it, the ranking’s organisers said.

“Just ask Ford or Gap, which lost 19% and 15% of their brand value, respectively, in this year’s …annual ranking of the 100 Best Global Brands.”

Even such perennial winners as Coca-Cola (No. 1) can have trouble boosting their brand.

The beverage giant claimed the top spot for the seventh year in a row mostly because it is big and everywhere, but it failed to further grow its reputation, seemingly because its move into healthier drinks has yet to resonate.

Still, it’s possible to stage a brand comeback. Several such stories emerged in this year’s ranking.

While it’s tempting for a challenged brand to emulate the likes of Google (No. 20), Apple (No. 33), or Starbucks (No. 88), doing so can seem audacious at best, delusional at worst.

A potentially more useful exercise is examining brands that have stumbled but recovered.

Take Nokia Corp. (No. 5): The Finnish giant realised its focus on making cheap handsets for the developing world was hurting in the U.S. and Europe.

Nokia released high-end phones aimed at both the consumer and business user and is showing strength in emerging and mature markets alike.

Business Week chose Interbrand’s methodology because it evaluates brand value in the same way any other corporate asset is valued—on the basis of how much it is likely to earn for the company in the future.

The consultancy uses a combination of analysts’ projections, company financial documents, and its own qualitative and quantitative analysis to arrive at a net present value of those earnings.

Even to qualify for the list, each brand must derive at least a third of its earnings outside its home country, be recognisable outside of its base of customers, and have publicly available marketing and financial data.


2nd August 2007

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