Study: Microsoft knocks out competitors as strongest corporate brand

Microsoft has the strongest corporate brand, followed by Intel and Google, according to a study from APCO Worldwide.

WASHINGTON: Microsoft has the strongest corporate brand, followed by Intel and Google, according to a study from APCO Worldwide.

The survey, conducted by APCO Worldwide’s opinion research group APCO Insight and Darden School of Business between December 2013 and January 2014, revealed a list of the world’s Top 100 Champion Brands. Companies were measured up against each other based on alignment, authenticity, attachment, and advocacy.

Out of the 35,000 people surveyed across 14 global markets, 77% percent said corporations affect their lives more now than a decade ago, and 68% want to know how a company operates as much as they want to know about its products.

Karen Buerkle, senior director at APCO Insight, said everyone today is constantly connected and "paying more attention to practices, not just products."

In addition to Microsoft, Intel, and Google, the other top-rated brands include Nestle, Walt Disney, Apple, Philips, Honda Motor, Sony, and Adidas.

Buerkle said companies cracking the top 10 are all bound by "ideas around authenticity and advocacy," such as Walt Disney. Stakeholders know what Disney stands for because the company acts in a way that’s consistent with its brand ethos, she explained.  

"Communicating a very strong sense of self and acting authentically allows you to form a strong emotional attachment," said Buerkle.

The technology industry, which claims five of the top 10 Champion Brand spots, is "transformative" because of how quickly it’s connected with people by adding value to their lives, said Buerkle. She added that if brands want to rank higher on the list in the future, they could take notes from companies in the tech sector on ways to effectively and meaningfully engage stakeholders.

Two industries performing poorly on the list include tobacco and finance. Visa, however, is an outlier, ranking higher than any other financial company on the list and coming in at 22 out of 100.   

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