BusinessWeek/Interbrand Unveils 100 Top Global Brands survey for 2006

Despite some slippage due to the public’s slackening demand for soda, Coca-Cola remained the No. 1 worldwide brand in the BusinessWeek/Interbrand 100 Top Global Brands survey.

The magazine’s Aug. 7 issue carried its sixth annual list of brands. BusinessWeek relies on Interbrand’s complicated formula that assigns a certain percentage of a company's revenues to a brand, then subtracts certain costs to arrive at the intangible earnings of that brand. Interbrand is a global brand consulting firm.

Coca-Cola lost 1 percent in brand value since the 2005 survey, but it maintains a comfortable lead over No. 2 Microsoft. “Flagging appetite for soda has cut demand for Coke, but the beverage giant has a raft of new products in the pipeline that could reverse its recent slide,” the report summarized.

Twenty-one places and $54 billion later was the next food company, rival brand Pepsi. “It tapped a growing obsession with obesity by shifting marketing dollars to Diet Pepsi. Another boost? Rival Coke's move to copy Pepsi Max with Coke Zero,” was the magazine’s commentary.

None of the top 6 companies from 2005 changed order.

Rank
Brand
Country
Value ($ millions)
Change*
1
Coca-Cola
U.S.
67,000
-1%
2
Microsoft
U.S.
56,926
-5%
3
IBM
U.S.
56,201
5%
4
GE
U.S.
48,907
4%
5
Intel
U.S.
32,319
-9%
22
Pepsi
U.S.
12,690
2%
23
Nescafe
Switzerland
12,507
2%
27
Budweiser
U.S.
11,662
-2%
40
Kellogg’s
U.S.
8,776
6%
54
Heinz
U.S.
6,223
-10%
59
Wrigley’s
U.S.
5,449
-2%
63
Nestle
Switzerland
4,932
4%
67
Danone
France
4,638
3%
79
Kraft
U.S.
3,943
-7%
83
Hennessy
France
3,576
12%
87
Moet & Chandon
France
3,257
9%
93
Smirnoff
Britain
3,032
-2%
* Change in dollar value from 2005
Source: BusinessWeek/Interbrand Top 100 Global Brands survey

The story highlighted the ascension of Motorola as a brand, not just a company that makes cell phones, and credited much of the company’s recent success to that strategy. The key, says global marketing head George Neill, who came to the company last year from Apple Computer, was to think of the brand as providing experiences to consumers, not just hardware. "We're focused on giving access to what people want -- music, video, Internet -- wherever customers roam," he told BusinessWeek. That translated into an 18 percent gain in the company's brand value on the chart.

“This year's list is brimming with hot brands such as Motorola that are crafting new and surprising ways to branch into entirely new product arenas,” the magazine reported. “Hyundai is launching a premium sedan. Google is wading into selling ad time on the radio. Others are revving up their brand's goodwill value to dodge problems, as McDonald's is doing with its health and fitness marketing to counter concerns about junk food.

Every company wants its brand to get bigger. The hard part is balancing what the brand is with a vision of what it would like to be. "As soon as you try to go someplace that doesn't fit or where you don't have credibility, it can detract from your organization and your brand," says Jez Frampton, CEO of Interbrand Group.

What BusinessWeek/Interbrand said about the food brands:
Coca-Cola: Flagging appetite for soda has cut demand for Coke, but the beverage giant has a raft of new products in the pipeline that could reverse its recent slide.

Pepsi: It tapped a growing obsession with obesity by shifting marketing dollars to Diet Pepsi. Another boost? Rival Coke's move to copy Pepsi Max with Coke Zero.

Nescafe: Sales of instant coffee are piping hot in emerging markets, while flavored coffees and new products have boosted appeal in the U.S. and Europe.

Budweiser: A price war and changing tastes left the No.1 beer maker with a nasty hangover. The drop in profits for 2005 was its first in a decade.

Kellogg’s: The cereal maker is striking an effective balance between healthy products like Special K and sugary treats like Pop Tarts to attract both moms and kids.

Heinz: Slimming its portfolio and adding products like Lea & Perrins hasn't been enough for Heinz to compete with retailers' in-house brands.

Wrigley’s: With new players chewing away at market share, Wrigley's has been expanding into areas like candy and mints with brand extensions and acquisitions.

Nestle: Best known for chocolate, Nestlé posts stronger growth from other products, such as Nestlé Aquarel bottled water.

Danone: A growing global appetite for yogurt keeps the French food and beverage giant in good health.

Kraft: Fierce competition and rising commodity costs have dogged the U.S.'s largest foodmaker. Kraft's new CEO needs innovative new products to revive sales.

Hennessy: As the brand gets a marketing assist from adoring hip hop artists in the U.S., the French cognac maker is pushing for growth in China and India.

Moet & Chandon: "Global sales of Champagne are up 54 percent since 1990, and Moet's "Be Fabulous" campaign has cemented the brand in the center of the market.

Smirnoff: The vodka market continues to attract new entrants; Smirnoff needs to better define a sophisticated identity to stay ahead of the pack.

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