GE and Microsoft are world's most valuable brands, says report

STAMFORD, CT: General Electric, Microsoft, and Wal-Mart are the world's most valuable brands, according to a recent survey produced by Stamford-based brand consultancy CoreBrand.

STAMFORD, CT: General Electric, Microsoft, and Wal-Mart are the world's most valuable brands, according to a recent survey produced by Stamford-based brand consultancy CoreBrand.

The survey gathered familiarity and favorability ratings for public companies among senior business executives in the top 20% of US corporations based on revenue. CoreBrand then used a statistical model to measure the impact of the company's brand strength on its stock market valuation.

Although GE leads the pack with total brand equity that translates into $61 billion in stock market value, Coca-Cola leads in terms of percentage of its overall value tied to its brand with 19.4%, or $22.6 billion.

CoreBrand says that determining brand equity helps communications pros measure the return on investment of different communications strategies.

"It can help to figure out what the return is on communications and marketing investments within companies, said Brad Puckey, associate director at CoreBrand. "We can then determine how changes in the brand result in changes in stock price."

CoreBrand advises its clients of four best practices to follow in order to maintain and build brand equity. These best practices include recognizing the brand as a fundamental corporate asset, accepting top-tier management for ownership of brands and sharing that responsibility firm-wide, investing time and intellect before mapping communications and marketing expenditures, and continually assessing the state of the brand.

The top 50 brand equity leaders include an overwhelming number of consumer-products franchises. CoreBrand says this is no coincidence.

"It's a little more difficult for (non-consumer firms) to understand the brand concept because their business is based on the product as the product, and almost never on a model where the company is the product," said CoreBrand COO Larry McNaughton. "But if you ask any consumer-product CEO, they will tell you their brand is their most valuable asset, and is worth more than almost all of their business' infrastructure."

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