Interbrand: Coca-Cola No. 1, nine years running

NEW YORK: Coca-Cola topped Interbrand's Best Global Brands list of the 100 leading brands for the ninth year in a row.

NEW YORK: Coca-Cola topped Interbrand's Best Global Brands list of the 100 leading brands for the ninth year in a row.

With a brand value of about $68.7 billion, Coca-Cola's brand rose 3% in value since last year. Interbrand, an international brand consultancy, uses financial earning information and brand strength – calculated through an analysis of customer demand – to determine brand value. The Best Global Brands report has been conducted for a decade, published in partnership with BusinessWeek for nine years. (It was published with Financial Times prior to that.)

The remaining brands in the top five are IBM, Microsoft, GE, and Nokia, in that order.

Results also show that the overall brand value of the 100 companies listed has dropped 4.6% between 2008 and 2009, from about $1.21 trillion to nearly $1.16 trillion.

“You can't look at this year's study without putting it through the filter of the recession,” said Andy Bateman, CEO of Interbrand, New York. “What the recession has generated is a genuine reset across entire markets.”

Still, Bateman said that the decline in brand value was “much slower and at a lower rate than the overall market decline.”

“A brand has an insulating effect, because brands generate a lot less risk and generate a lot more loyalty,” he added. “It will insulate you in the downtime.”

Bateman said that trust and confidence have become determining factors when consumers choose brands, including financial service providers. He also emphasized that innovation, including the ability to engage with consumers in new ways, are traits for growing brands.

This year's ranking welcomed some the newcomers to the list, including a number of fashion and beauty brands: Lancome, Burberry, and Puma. Other brands in these categories, such as Prada and Gap showed declines.

“During tough times, it's about going to those brands that are affordable luxuries,” said Bateman.

In addition, the report pinpoints three financial services companies to watch: Barclay's, Credit Suisse, and Santander, which Bateman said are brands “focused on the value they create for their customers.” Financial service organizations overall saw a decrease in brand value. Among them, Goldman Sachs saw a 10% decrease, Morgan Stanley declined 26%, American Express dropped 32%, and UBS took a 50% plummet.

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