Mind Candy

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The most valuable brands in the world

Posted by mandyf on October 20, 2011

The most valuable brands in the world put to rest the age old question of “What’s in a name?” or a logo as the case the may be. A company”s branding is a huge factor in their bottom line. So much so that merely being linked to certain names alone can make or break some companies. A strong established trademarked brand name which is linked to quality or status, for many consumers, can be what sways their decision to make a certain a purchase. As such, the brand value of a successful company carries a monetary value of its own.

Determining how much a brand is worth is not really a very easy process. There are numerous factors to be considered, but chiefly three major categories are used to pre-qualify who does and does not make the cut for consideration as having a truly valuable brand in regard to the world of big business. The first factor is that a company has to generate a minimum of $2.7 billion with at least a third of that income generated abroad. They also have to make their marketing and financial data readily available for examination. It isn’t my criteria, the Folks at Forbes, Money and Inc. came up with this stuff. For your consideration, the top ten brand names are as follows.

Coming in at number ten is Nokia with a value of $27.4 billion, Finland’s Nokia has realized a 14% increase in trademark value since 2005 with a similar rise in brand value. By becoming one of the most recognized and trusted names in the world of fashionable low cost electronics which also deliver quality, Nokia is on the rise. With the ever increasing demand for their cellular phone line of products on a global scale, Nokia is expected to see about a 2% annual increase in the value of the Nokia trademark through 2013.

While Intel may be inside as the slogan says, Intel is currently on the outs so far as the value of their brand value is concerned. Over the past few years it has seen a  drop in value which reduced the monetary value of the Intel brand name to $28.6 billion dollars. Stiff competition and the loss of high profile big dollar contracts have cut the image of Intel as the best and only real option for quality dramatically. So long as the competition keeps moving forward faster, chiefly AMD, Intel will keep sliding in brand value.

Marlboro is living proof that if you hook them young, odds are you have them for life. Love or hate big tobacco, or any tobacco, Marlboro has established itself as one of the most recognizable name brands not only in the tobacco industry, but in the entire corporate world. Coming in at number eight with a brand value of $29.1 billion is nothing to take lightly.

GE (General Electric) is among the Goliaths of brand value at $33.7 billion. They have experienced about a 1% growth each of the past several years in the value of their trademark and brand name. Given the depth of their dealings in the credit card market this may change quite a bit. It is expected the strength of their consumer product division will always be strong, but for now they may be lucky to hold steady in trademark value. The wild card in all of this is the GE push to be associated with green technology and being eco-friendly. With this an ever increasing issue, GE may actually spring forward if people value the warm fuzzy of a clean planet over writing checks to pay off their credit card bills to GE.

Surprisingly enough McDonald’s only comes in at number six with a $35.9 billion brand name value. Despite the health craze and bad press, people love fast food -even if Happy Meals come with fruit now. McDonald’s got on the bandwagon and expanded their menu to have a tasty yet healthy light side menu and has kept on rolling. With sales increasing McDonald’s is firmly entrenched in their position with a 6% gain in trademark value since 2005.

At number five is Google. This isn’t much of a surprise given their seeming dominance, and at least mere presence it would seem, in everything that is online. In 2005, the Google brand name was valued at only $8.7 billion. Today, things have changed. Google boasts a brand name value of $39.7 billion which is about a 450% increase over that period. Despite numerous failed ventures, Google keeps plugging along and analysts believe their brand name value is poised for another big jump if G+ takes off.

At number four is Big Blue. IBM never goes away. With a current brand name value of $43 billion, they are one of the most historically consistent companies on this list. IBM has long been a trusted name associated with not only quality products by an image of the heyday of America people desperately want to cling to. While IBM appeared to be antiquated only 20 short years ago, they stuck to a firm battle plan, re-tooled, and found a niche, really big niche, to dominate and keep cash flowing hand over fist.

With a brand value of $55.4 billion, Coca-Cola enters the top three. Coke is one of those comfort items people love. Whether you like Coke or Pepsi – or even Shasta or some other brand – you recognize the Coca-Cola logo. Despite some fiascoes in marketing and the reported loss of some market share, Coke never seems to lose ground. The brand is established, it is recognized around the world, and it never seems to lose value.

The runner-up award goes to Microsoft at $56.6 billion dollars. Microsoft has seen a drop of 5% in brand value surrounding a number of problems both large and small with products over the last few years. Add to that the sheer dominance of Apple in many areas and the continued rise of Google – you have a loss. Still, the name is trusted, widely recognized, and worth a whole lot more than most people would think.   Microsoft is still the bully on the block, but they are getting challenged now which is a good thing for everyone -particularly consumers. It is expected their trademark value will continue to slide and that IBM will overtake them again over the next decade. That is sheer analyst guesswork though.

As if there was any doubt, Apple is the most valuable brand name in the world. It is nearly impossible to imagine anything in the digital realm without Apple. Only 15 years ag0 – give or take – Microsoft was bailing them out with what was in effect a $150 million loan. Today, they have surpassed Microsoft and every company in the world in brand name value. People see Apple, and whether it is the best product or not, people seem to want to buy it. With the passing of Steve Jobs, some worry that Apple may see losses in many areas, brand name value being one of them, but when you have a brand value of $57.4 billion…you can handle a little loss and keep going.

If you add it all up, the top ten corporate brand names are worth $406.8 billion. Not too shabby. Analysts predict a lot of things – sometimes right and at others very wrong. While I’m certainly no pro, it seems unlikely that IBM will surpass Microsoft in a decade. It does however seem possible that Microsoft can overtake Apple within a few years.  Whatever happens – that’s a buttload of money a brand name can be worth!

Sources: Forbes, Business Week, Inc., Money



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