US brands dominate the top names in retail, finance and industry, according to the latest top 100 from research firm BrandZ.
Every year, the firm lists the global top brands by worth – and the highest rankings have changed little in the past 12 months.
Apple retains the crown as the world’s top brand, valued at $185 billion.
Technology firms take five of the top seven slots – with search engine giant Google weighing in second with a $113 billion price tag.
Other technology big hitters are IBM (3); AT&T, the US communications company (4); and Microsoft (7).
Fast food chain McDonald’s took fourth place and Coca Cola came in fifth.
Top European brands were technology firm SAP, BMW and Deutsche Telekom.
Top Asian brand was China Mobile.
Louis Vuitton was the top luxury brand – chased hard by Prada.
Brands have fared well despite the global economic downturn as their products are well-received in the markets, the names are synonymous with quality and their worldwide presence allows dips in one economy to be set off by rises elsewhere.
“Last year was a year of adjusting expectations in the face of persistent uncertainty about world economic growth for the big brands and their customers,” said a BrandZ spokesman.
“Nevertheless, brand value appreciated as companies built on their good reputations as trusted suppliers.”
What makes a brand?
For investors looking at brands, BrandZ has eight points to look for in a successful name:
- Value for money – BrandZ says it’s not what the company charges, but what the customer gets in return for their cash that counts.
- Relevance – Continual reinvention of the brand with new products that relevant to the market is important
- Technology – Online presence is important – but not just a web site but social media. Innovating technology for customers like Amazon’s purchase recommendations based on site searches and products purchased leads the way for many retailers
- Reputation – A good name attracts customers because they can trust the brand
- Unique selling points – Brands that stand out because of their products or service are liked by consumers
- Personality – A brand is a personality that speaks to consumers and needs to have a point of view
- Chase growth – Brands must capitalise on their main asset – reputation and trust – and leverage new markets
- Keep delivering – A brand is only as good as the last experience the customer had with a product or service. Delivery must consistently improve.