Dear Colleagues:

Branding giant Interbrand recently published their Best Global Brands 2010, an anniversary report with their ranking of the top 100 brands with timely analysis capturing this year's evolution in brand strategy, as well as key branding trends from the past 10 years. I sat down with Interbrand's New York CEO, Josh Feldmeth and Andrea Sullivan, Executive Director, Client Services, to learn what findings would be most relevant to marketers.

If you haven't read Interbrand's report yet, you don't want to miss this. If you are interested in seeing the full list of 100 brands and the accompanying report, you can read the full report at Best Global Brands 2010.


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In This Issue
Highlights: Best Global Brands 2010
What Makes a Brand among the Best?
B2B Brands are Taking B2C Approach
10 Years of Trends
"Business-to-business companies are behaving more like consumer marketers."

- Josh Feldmeth,
New York CEO, Interbrand

B2B Brands are Taking B2C Approach


Highlights: Best Global Brands 2010

Interbrand's report was released in time for Q4 2010. If you aren't familiar with it, the formula Interbrand uses to calculate a brand's value and, therefore its ranking, assesses financial performance (economic profit), the role of the brand and the brand's strength. According to Josh Feldmeth, CEO of Interbrand New York, the measures of success for a strong brand are that it "drives choice, commands a premium and engenders loyalty."

Here are major findings from the 2010 report:

  • The only brand entering the top 10 ranking in 2010: HP
  • The brand that grew 515% in value since it premiered on the ranking in 2005: Google
  • 2010 top risers: Apple, Google, BlackBerry, J.P. Morgan, Allianz
  • Brand with the greatest percentage drop in its brand value, while still remaining in the ranking: Harley-Davidson
  • 2010 biggest decliners: Harley-Davidson, Toyota, Nokia, Dell, Citi
  • What new entrant is the number one selling beer in Mexico and the fourth bestselling beer in the world? Corona
  • New entrants to the top 100 global brands list: Sprite, Santander, Barclay's, Jack Daniels, Credit Suisse, Corona, 3M, Johnnie Walker, Heineken, Zurich
What Makes a Brand Among the Best?

According to Feldmeth, "the genetic code for developing strong brands is clarity, commitment, protection, responsiveness, authenticity, relevance, differentiation, consistency, presence, and understanding."

What the brand stands for in terms of its values, positioning and proposition. This must be articulated so that everyone knows it when they see it or hear it

The heights to which a brand is held in organizational decision making. The extent to which the brand receives support in terms of time, influence, and investment

The approach to securing the brand across a number of dimensions: legal protection, proprietary ingredients or design, scale, geographical spread, and CSR initiatives

The ability to respond to changes or proactively create opportunities that is driven by a sense of leadership and a desire to constantly evolve and renew itself

The notion that the brand is soundly based on an internal truth and capability. It has a defined heritage and a well grounded value set. It can deliver against the expectations that customers have of it

The fit with customer/consumer needs, desires, and decision criteria across all demographics and geographies

The degree to which consumers/customers perceive the brand to have a differentiated positioning distinctive from the competition

The degree to which a brand promise is experienced without fail across all touchpoints or formats

The degree to which a brand feels omnipresent and is talked about positively by consumers and customers, opinion formers in social media, and employees

The brand is not only recognized, but there is an in depth insight of its distinctive qualities among customers and employees

Authenticity: 153 days the brand cannot ignore
BP's errors define the areas for active investment in the sector:
· Conservation, efficiency and renewal
· Consumer and commercial behavioral change - "energy-smart" living

· Economically viable technology

Relevance: Are we still living to ride?
Harley-Davidson bikes have become a less relevant purchase in the current economic climate and has put the brand on the defensive:
· It has exited the sport bike market
· As other automotive companies innovate, the brand rests on its laurels

· Prior to July 2010, CEO Keith Wandell had never rode a Harley

B2B Brands are Taking B2C Approach

According to Feldmeth, business to business companies are behaving more like consumer marketers.

"Every time a purchase decision is made, brand plays a role," states Feldmeth. He explains that Interbrand calculates the impact that brands have on your financials. "Price, features, service, brand, etc. all contributes to the amount of economic value a company is creating times the role of their brand."

With each annual global branding study, Feldmeth finds an underestimation of the role of brand in B2B copies than for B2C. "Every time we do the quantitative measurement, the role of brand in B2B company value is greater than people think. As B2B companies realize that brand is a business asset and driver of economic value, they have been expanding their work to shape their corporate culture and brand experience. "

For example, in telecommunications Vodafone, Verizon, AT&T all have B2B and B2C options. The role of brand for B2C offer can be much lower than it is for their B2B offers. In this instance, Feldmeth sees the role of brand being higher for the enterprise service than for the cell phone offer.

"Traditionally consumer brands create a bond (e.g. Tide's connection with consumers)," states Feldmeth. "The good brands realize the core equities and work to grow and evolve them. Coca Cola's, for example, has brand elements with equity that won't change: form of bottle, script on word mark. Business brands like IBM are starting to do a better job of storytelling and letting the identity take off with more personality development and engagement." Feldmeth identifies a trend where B2B brands are starting to unlock their brand experience so that customers feel like they have a relationship with them. He finds this to be market driven. "The consumer conversation that has been enabled by technology has created a curiosity to understand who is behind the companies out there and even to judge them, or minimally require an increase in transparency and accountability," Feldmeth concludes.

10 Years of Trends

Andrea Sullivan provides Interbrand's top five trends studied over the past decade that she believes will have the greatest impact on brand-building into the future.

  1. We have entered the age of responsibility - act like a leader.
  2. Saying, doing, being - branding isn't just about communications. You have to live the brand from the inside out, and believe in the value system - authenticity is essential.
  3. Shifting attitudes toward wealth - we can't stress enough the importance of positioning companies around value. Many luxury brands have fared better than expected, largely because of how they talk about the value for your money.
  4. Post digital seamless world - social and consumer networking is about connecting. You have to get intimate with your customers and need to have a social media strategy externally, as well as internally.
  5. Experience revolution- how you look at your end-to-end customer experience and how your brand embodies that is essential. Studies show that customers believe that there are breakdowns in the customer experience 80% of the time. There is a huge disconnect between the company perspective and consumer experience. Customer touch points, such as the call center, retail and online channels are not connected with each other. Nike, Apple, Samsung were among those rewarded by consumers due to their superior customer experience.
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