A Look at the World’s Most Powerful Brands

Forbes magazine recently compiled its first-ever list of the world’s 100 most powerful brands. Forbes defines the power of a brand as a combination of financial value and positive consumer sentiment.

Here are the top ten for 2012:

10. Cisco

9. BMW

8. General Electric

7. McDonald’s

6. Intel

5. Google

4. IBM

3. Coca-Cola

2. Microsoft

1. Apple

Notice any recurring themes? Six of these are technology companies, including the top two and four out of the top five. Apple survived the loss of Steve Jobs and still amassed an estimated brand value of $87.1 billion, more than double that of No. 5 Google, which came in at $37.6 billion.

Two of the top ten are food and beverage companies, although one is a producer while the other is a restaurant company. Only one auto manufacturer made the top ten. General Electric is categorized as diversified, which makes sense considering it sells everything from appliances to financial services.

Of the 10 automotive companies on the top 100 list, only Ford is American. At No. 59, it was bested globally by BMW, Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Audi and Volkswagen.

Surprisingly, Disney, which usually ranks very high in name recognition (ask any elementary-school-aged girl to name Disney princesses) came in at No. 13 and was the only entertainment/leisure company on the top 100 list.

Given the size of their industries, surely energy, aviation and banking companies would rank highly, right? Guess again. The energy sector was represented only by Shell at No. 91, while the aviation industry’s sole representative in the top 100 was Boeing at No. 81. The sole banking representative, Wells Fargo, came in at No. 83.

Mass media may be losing its impact, as only ESPN (No. 49), Thompson Reuters (No. 64), MTV (No. 68) and Fox (No. 99) cracked the top 100.

So what’s the takeaway from all of this? The most powerful brands aren’t the ones that generated the most revenue or spent the most on advertising. Successful brands cultivate a favorable experience among their customers. Even when the economy is struggling or profits are down, good impressions and customer loyalty go a long way toward boosting a brand’s power.

To discover how S&A Cherokee can help with your branding needs, contact us for a free consultation at (919) 674-6020.

Author: Glenn Gillen, APR
Glenn Gillen is our Senior Account Manager.

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