Coca-Cola No. 1 global brand ... again

Coca-Cola takes the lead in Interbrand's 2011 Best Global Brands report for the 12th consecutive year. The brand is timeless and yet, always seems relevant - a balance that has been mastered thanks to the brand's ability to constantly reinvent itself and remain accessible to everyone, everywhere. This past year saw the rollout of the brand's PlantBottle, a sustainable and recyclable bottle made partially of plant material. Unlike other new plastics, it can be recycled the same way standard plastic bottles are recycled - eliminating the need for a new recycling infrastructure and allowing the brand to roll out the bottle quite rapidly.  In fact, Heinz (49) recently made a move to license the PlantBottle, suggesting that this innovation has an opportunity to become a profit-center for Coca-Cola in the future. Pepsi (22) unveiled its Pepsi Refresh Project core to the brand's overall positioning, and widely recognized and understood by its target consumer.

Pepsi continues to leverage celebrity and the digital space to grow its presence, enable one-on-one brand involvement and create shareable cultural experiences that are truly unique. Encouraging idea-sharing and taking a proactive role in driving branded conversation in social media has had a positive impact on the brand overall.

Interbrand's methodology analyzes financial performance of the branded products or services, the role of brand in the purchase decision process, and the strength of the brand to continue to secure earnings for a company.

The Top 10 brands and their value in ($m) include: Coca-Cola $71,861, IBM $69,905, Microsoft $59,087, Google $55,317, GE $42,808, McDonald's $35,593, Intel $35,217, Apple $33,492, Disney $29,018, Hewlett-Packard $28,479.

This past year, technology brands continued to show sector-wide growth.  Seven of the top 10 brands (IBM, Microsoft, Google, GE, Intel, Apple and Hewlett-Packard), four of the five biggest risers (Apple, Amazon.com, Google and Samsung) and the one of the few new entrants to the Best Global Brands report (HTC, the mobile device maker in Taiwan) all hail from within the tech sector. Apple's (8) brand value increased a staggering 58 percent, Apple is this year's top riser and, for the first time, it sits amongst the top 10 brands listed in Interbrand's report.

All luxury brands -- Louis Vuitton (18), Gucci (39), Hermès (66), Cartier (70), Tiffany (73), Armani (93) and Burberry (95) appearing in Interbrand's report were able to increase their respective brand values by striking a delicate balance in 2011: They each leveraged their iconic status and simultaneously engaged new consumers in unique and relevant experiences.
 
Following the 2008 financial crisis, certain financial brands continue to struggle - particularly those financial brands based in the U.S. Legacy banking brands Goldman Sachs (38), Citi (42) and Morgan Stanley (54) saw slight declines in brand value in Interbrand's 2011 report. Certain European-based financial institutions, however, saw brand values climb five percent or more within the past year. Allianz (67) experienced growth of 9 percent within the European financial services sector, while Spanish banking giant Santander (68) and Zurich (94) from Switzerland also showed growth in terms of brand value. Such organizations seemed deeply committed to restoring consumer trust and reestablishing strong business ethics.
 
Due to the volatile markets and uncertain business climate that characterized 2011, brands are in the midst of adapting to a new reality. "Uncertainty is the new status quo, so today's brands need to be quick and nimble," says Jez Frampton, Interbrand's Global CEO. "Consistency, relevance and commitment are imperative if a brand is to keep pace in our rapidly changing world."
 
This year's Top 100 Best Global Brands have demonstrated that, despite an erratic economic landscape, they are constantly flexing, evolving and innovating - all in an effort to meet the new needs of today's consumer. "By refining digital strategies and strengthening social networks, today's most valuable brands are creating more relevant customer engagements. These brands have seized opportunities to host richer, more tailored experiences, which, in turn, help drive longer-term loyalty and value among consumers and partners alike," notes Frampton. 

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