The A-Team: Best Global Brands 2013

By: Mandy Cummings, Account Coordinator

What do the technology, fast food, and automobile industries have in common? They’re all vying for a coveted place on Interbrand’s annual Best Global Brands list. Interbrand has been around since 1974 and is now the world’s largest brand consultancy. When they put together their list of the world’s most valuable brands, people listen.

So what makes this year’s list anything out of the ordinary? For the first time in 14 years, Apple has dethroned Coca-Cola from the top of the chart. Fellow tech-pioneer Google secured second place, pushing America’s favorite soda brand down to bronze. An upset like this leads branding nerds like us to ponder, what makes a top brand?

We can start by looking at the criteria Interweb used to determine the top brands of 2013. Defining brand strength as, “Measuring the ability of the brand to create loyalty and, therefore, generating demand and profit into the future,” they determine a brand’s impact through both internal company behaviors and external factors.

Internal Factors

  • Clarity: The staff, employees and all internal systems must reflect clarity around what the brand stands for and the values it stands behind. This also includes clarity on business drivers, like understanding target audiences and customer insights.
  • Commitment: From both leaders and staff, the internal functions of any company should have commitment to the brand and belief in the importance of the brand.
  • Protection: Legal and proprietary ingredients are vital in ensuring your brand is secure and protected.
  • Responsiveness: Agility and ability to respond to market changes, challenges and opportunities drive responsiveness. Leadership should encourage a desire to constantly evolve and renew the brand.

External Factors:

  • Authenticity: Genuine, internal truth and capability should be at the base of the brand. Customers should trust the brand to deliver, even against high expectations.
  • Relevance: Shiny brands fall flat without a fit to consumer needs and desires. The brand criteria should apply across all relevant demographics and geographies.
  • Differentiation: Consumers must perceive the brand to have a differentiated positioning, clearly identified from the competition.
  • Consistency: Social media, traditional media, website, etc. should all reflect a consistent brand image and consumer experience, regardless of format.
  • Presence: According to Interweb, a strong brand feels “omnipresent” and is often talked about positively by media, consumers and thought leaders.
  • Understanding: The brand is not only recognized by consumers, but there is also knowledge and understanding of its distinctive qualities and characteristics.

Apple can be looked to as a classic example of all these factors. They have built a talented internal team aligned around a common vision, delivering impressive results upgrade after upgrade (how many companies can inspire fans to line up for a new release to replace their slightly used, year-old iPhone?). Their financial pinnacle in 2012 made them the most valuable company of all time, and Mac sales have grown an average of 15% annually over the last five years.

However, being the world’s most valuable brand implies more than financial success. Interbrand Global Chief Executive Jez Frampton credited Apple’s success as, “A sign of the times, a company that has changed our lives, not just with its products but also with its ethos.” Apple’s loyal fans look to the company as leaders in progress, social change, environmental commitments and technological advancement. More than products, Apple is creating a lifestyle and industry standard that other brands are expected to match in order to keep up.

Want to be the next Apple? Call or click here to learn more about branding services offered at WildRock and how we can take your business to the next level.