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(Below is a re-post from ProActive Communications’ President Mark Serrano’s blog, PowerTrip)

CoreBrand has been maintaining a brand index of the 1,000 largest companies for the past 22 years. The latest annual survey of BrandPower rankings was just released and it provides useful insight about brand value and its importance to the bottom-line.

The index examines financial information, advertising spending, and brand image while surveying 8,000 top decision makers (vice president level and higher) from across 54 industries, including investors, customers, and potential customers of the top 20% of U.S. businesses.

The highest valued brands are all familiar and tend to be in a horse race each year, competing for the top spot, or to improve a notch or two among the brand elites.

Top Ten Brands

2011 Rank Company 2010 Rank Difference
1 Coca-Cola 1
2 Hershey 2
3 Harley-Davidson 5 +2
4 Campbell Soup 3 -1
5 Kellogg 7 +2
6 Johnson & Johnson 4 -2
7 Bayer 10 +3
8 Hallmark Cards 6 -2
9 United Parcel Service 9
10 Colgate-Palmolive 8 -2

Perhaps the more telling story behind the 2011 brand value survey results comes from the companies whose brands had the largest change over their brand valuation in 2010

Among the top 100 brands in the CoreBrand survey, there are 18 companies that had a double-digit increase in their ranking, and there are 12 companies with a double-digit decrease in their brand value.

The factors for these changes are no doubt complex in each case. While we are left to make assumptions about the particular factors for the change in ranking for these brands, here are some possible explanations:

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  • Reduced advertising could be a factor for some companies as they manage their business mission through an economic “recovery” that has struggled at 1 to 2% growth in GDP for three years.
  • News stories about new growth despite declining federal bailout dollars no doubt helped Ford Motor Company (+11).
  • The death of Apple founder Steve Jobs and the introduction of the new iPad may have helped boost Apple’s brand ranking (+20).
  • Fierce competition from premium content providers online may be behind the fall in rank for NBC (-17) and CBS (-19).

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Brands w/ shifting value

2011 Rank Company 2010 Rank Difference
28 Microsoft 42 +14
33 Apple 53 +20
41 Avon Products 52 +11
44 NBC 27 -17
45 Yahoo 61 +16
46 Eastman Kodak 67 +21
51 American Greetings 63 +12
52 CBS 33 -19
56 Dell 70 +14
58 Bed Bath & Beyond 44 -14
63 Black & Decker 50 -13
65 Ford Motor Company 76 +11
66 IBM 48 -18
71 Bausch & Lomb 56 -15
72 Google 94 +22
74 Fuji Photo Film 88 +14
76 AT&T Wireless 89 +13
83 Polaroid 97 +14
84 Samsung 100 +16
87 Remington 103 +16
90 Weather Channel 68 -22
92 Kohl’s 102 +10
94 Marriott International 82 -12
95 eBay 116 +21
97 Dairy Queen 111 +14
100 New York Stock Exchange 130 +30

These are times of survival of the fittest in the marketplace, so innovation, risk-taking, and shrewd communications and consumer engagement are more critical to the business mission of the most-valued brands than ever.

Connection with the consumer is paramount for these brands, so their market testing, advertising, and online engagement – both through social media and online video – could not be more critical to maintain their brand value, which translates into overall share value more than for less brand-sensitive businesses.

For some companies, the CoreBrand survey offers insight that warrants a fresh assessment of the business mission, communications plan, and overall relationship with customers in order to enhance the brand ranking in the next survey.

Continue the conversation on Facebook and on Twitter with @ProActiveComm and @MarkVSerrano.

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