Coca-Cola (#1) takes the lead in Interbrand's 2011 Best Global Brands report for the 12th consecutive year. Another brand leader is Apple (#8). With a brand value that increased a staggering 58 percent, Apple is this year's top riser and, for the first time, it sits amongst the top 10 brands listed in Interbrand's report.
Interbrand, a leading brand consultancy, produces its Best Global Brands report based on a unique methodology. The methodology analyzes three key aspects that contribute to a brand's value:
• The financial performance of the branded products or services
• The role of brand in the purchase decision process
• The strength of the brand to continue to secure earnings for a company
Due to the volatile markets and uncertain business climate that characterized 2011, brands are in the midst of adapting to a new reality. "Uncertainty is the new status quo, so today's brands need to be quick and nimble," remarked Jez Frampton, Interbrand's Global Chief Executive Officer. "Consistency, relevance and commitment are imperative if a brand is to keep pace in our rapidly changing world."
This year's Top 100 Best Global Brands have demonstrated that, despite an erratic economic landscape, they are constantly flexing, evolving and innovating - all in an effort to meet the new needs of today's consumer. "By refining digital strategies and strengthening social networks, today's most valuable brands are creating more relevant customer engagements. These brands have seized opportunities to host richer, more tailored experiences, which, in turn, help drive longer-term loyalty and value among consumers and partners alike," noted Frampton.
Technology brands dominate in 2011
This past year, technology brands continued to show sector-wide growth. Seven of the top 10 brands (IBM, Microsoft, Google, GE, Intel, Apple and Hewlett-Packard), four of the five biggest risers (Apple, Amazon.com, Google and Samsung) and the one of the few new entrants to the Best Global Brands report (HTC, the mobile device maker in Taiwan) all hail from within the tech sector. A few highlights include:
• IBM (#2), one of the foremost global B2B companies, showed a very strong performance this year. This underscores the increasing importance of brand in the B2B space. A strong brand presence is not only crucial to driving sales at the retail cash register, but also in driving business-to-business purchase decisions as well. IBM's performance is also a strong indicator that well-defined corporate strategies, like the company's Smarter Planet business strategy, can become very valuable business assets.
• Amazon.com (#26) has become one of the world's strongest brands in record time - jumping 32% in brand value this past year. Much of Amazon's recent success can be directly attributed to its strong sales of the Kindle and e-books. By identifying a consumer need ahead of competitors and quickly developing the technology to meet that need, Amazon managed to create a new revenue stream - one that bolstered both its original business model and, correspondingly, its brand value.
• HTC (#98) made its first appearance in Interbrand's Best Global Brands report this year. HTC, a mobile device company that recently shifted from B2B to B2C, is focusing on increasing consumer awareness, establishing partnerships with more established brands and enhancing its digital brand strategy - all of which make it a brand to watch in the year ahead.
Automotive brands show resiliency
The past year was marked by remarkable growth in the auto industry, driven primarily by an economic recovery in classic European markets, a resurgence of the US automotive industry and high demand for cars in China.
• Nissan Motor (#90), Japan's second largest carmaker, returns to Interbrand's Best Global Brands report for the first time since 2007. Nissan was able to restock inventories faster than its competitors immediately following the earthquake that devastated Japan last March. In doing so, Nissan proved to be resilient during a difficult time for both the company and its home country -- and managed to increase its brand value as a result.
• Toyota (#11) retains its position as the #1 automotive brand in Interbrand's 2011 report. Like Nissan, Toyota exhibited great resiliency by increasing its brand value 6%. Even though Toyota faced both an internal crisis (lack of quality control in 2010) and an external crisis (Japan's earthquake in early 2011), the company forged ahead by focusing on safety and quality, modifying its leadership structure and capitalizing on its world-renown green efforts.
Luxury brands on the rise
All luxury brands appearing in Interbrand's report were able to increase their respective brand values by striking a delicate balance in 2011: They each leveraged their iconic status and simultaneously engaged new consumers in unique and relevant experiences.
• Corporations such as Louis Vuitton (#18), Gucci (#39), Hermès (#66), Cartier (#70), Tiffany (#73), Armani (#93) and Burberry (#95) all saw their respective brand values increase this year - a tremendous business achievement considering the world's tumultuous economic conditions. Each of these luxury brands put a renewed focus on quality, craftsmanship and an increased emphasis on digital brand strategy.
• Most notably, Burberry (#95) increased its brand value by 20%, making the British luxury retailer one of the top risers in this year's report. While luxury brands performed well across the board, Burberry bested them all by focusing on its core competencies in fashion, digital innovation and global expansion.
Financial services' slow path to recovery
Following the 2008 financial crisis, certain financial brands continue to struggle - particularly those financial brands based in the US. Legacy banking brands Goldman Sachs (#38), Citi (#42) and Morgan Stanley (#54) saw slight declines in brand value in Interbrand's 2011 report. Certain European-based financial institutions, however, saw brand values climb five percent or more within the past year. Allianz (#67) experienced growth of 9 percent within the European financial services sector, while Spanish banking giant Santander (#68) and Zurich (#94) from Switzerland also showed growth in terms of brand value. Such organizations seemed deeply committed to restoring consumer trust and reestablishing strong business ethics.
Interbrand's full 2011 Best Global Brands report is available (along with expanded content and methodology) on both www.Interbrand.com and www.BestGlobalBrands.com. The report is also available for download to iPads.
Developed by Interbrand and powered by PixelMags Inc., the download is available on the iPad App Store.