Sep 16, 2010 at 02:18 PM
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Interbrand Releases 100 "Best Global Brands"

IBM, Microsoft and Google lead Interbrand’s 11th annual ranking of the “Best Global Brands.” Google (#4) sees a 36% increase in value over last year, bringing the brand closer than ever to rival Microsoft (#3). HP (#10) enters the top 10 for the first time, having increased brand value under a new business model and brand platform. For the 11th year straight, Coca-Cola (#1) retains its top spot as the number one ranked brand on the list.

Brand consultancy, Interbrand, publishes the ranking of the top 100 brands based on an analysis of the ways in which a brand touches and benefits an organization, from attracting top talent to delivering on customer expectation. Three aspects contribute to a brand’s overall value; the financial performance of the branded products or services, the role of brand in the purchase decision process and the strength of the brand to continue to secure earnings for the company.

A number of prominent brands faced extraordinary crisis in 2010 resulting in stalled growth, value loss and in the case of BP, failure to make the ranking this year. BP’s environmental disaster and inability to make good on its brand promise of “Beyond Petroleum” led to it falling off of the list and helped competitor Shell emerge as an industry leader, now ranked number 81, up from number 92 in 2009. Although the Toyota (#11) recall caused the brand to lose -16% of its brand value, its long-standing reputation for reliability, efficiency and innovation helped it weather the crisis better than expected. Goldman Sachs (#37) was once the envy of Wall Street, but now faces the dichotomy of strong economic results and an angry public that will continue to lash out until the company begins to demonstrate that it is making sincere efforts to better align its ethics with its brand.

Technology brands continue to lead the pack, with IBM (#2), Microsoft (#3), Google (#4), Intel (#7), and HP (#10) earning top rankings. Apple (#17) increased brand value 37% through carefully controlled messaging and an endless wave of buzz surrounding new product launches. Despite a challenging year, HP made smart additions to its product portfolio and swiftly expanded the HP brand to protect its ranking on the list. With 32% brand value growth, BlackBerry (#54) remains the most popular smartphone for business users, despite pressure from Apple as it edges into the corporate world.

“2010 was the beginning of a long road back towards economic recovery,” said Jez Frampton, group chief executive at Interbrand. “From real-time customer feedback through social media to increased transparency about corporate citizenship, brands were faced with a profound change in the way they relate to customers and demonstrate their relevance and value. Despite this new paradigm of brand management, the advantages of building a solid brand remain the same.”

During a difficult year for the auto industry, Mercedes Benz (#12) and BMW (#15) were able to sustain and build their value through innovative design and a focus on delivering premium value vehicles with luxury features. Using customer feedback, largely drawn from YouTube, Flickr, Twitter and Facebook to launch the 2009 Fiesta, Ford (#50) stands out as one of the best example of how to use social media. Award-winning products like the Q5 and rich heritage help Audi (#63) lead industry growth this year with a 9% increase in its brand value.

Despite the economic downturn, luxury brands Cartier (#77), Armani (#95), Louis Vuitton (#16), Gucci (#44), Tiffany & Co (#76) and Hermes (#69) all saw the value of their brands increase in 2010 by continuing to invest in their heritage and legendary status. Outstanding customer service and a focus on unique in-store and online experiences allowed them to stay strong, even while consumers cut back spending.

In the financial sector, legacy brands Citi (#40) and UBS (#86) lost double-digits in brand value, while Santander (#68), Barclays (#74) and Credit Suisse (#80) made their debut on the list for the first time. Their ability to stay true to brand promises in unsure times, and avoidance of the subprime mortgage crisis, helped them stay the course.

Interbrand Interbrand’s 2010 Best Global Brands is available in full at