To wrap up gloablEDGE’s Global Branding blog series, it is appropriate to discuss what some of the top brands in the world are and why they are the best. Fortunately for us, Interbrand publishes a list of the top brands every year. The top brand this year (and for the last 10+ years!) is Coca-Cola.
It is important to understand Interbrand’s methodology in quantifying this brand value to know why Coca-Cola is consistently at the top. First, any successful company must create money and this is accounted for in the methodology by looking at the net economic income made by the company. Economic income is income that is adjusted for the amount of investment required to reach it. That part is pretty easy as the numbers are usually given. The next part, determining the role of the brand, is much more difficult as it is very subjective and requires much critical analysis. That step is where the brand value truly comes in as it tries to quantify how much revenues and market capitalization a company would lose if it didn’t have a brand. Finally, brand strength and staying power is looked at and accounted for.
So why is Coca-Cola at the top for so many years? One reason is that Coke’s brand has so much staying power. Coke is one of the rare examples where a particular brand name can be used for competing, unbranded products (Kleenex is another). Coca-Cola also continually reinvests into their brand by sponsoring many high profile events and social causes. These include the Super Bowl, the World Cup, an eco-friendly bottle, and a partnership with the World Wildlife Foundation. They also are consistently able to equate Coke with happiness through their advertising (like this commercial shows) and sponsorships. Coke also is aware of consumer perceptions and changes their product line (think Diet Coke or Coke Zero) as need be, but never deviates away from their core competency with good old-fashioned Coke. The biggest lesson here is that it takes a lot of time doing something that works to develop a great brand.