'BusinessWeek' teams up with Interbrand to rank 100 of the world's most valuable brands

 For the second year in a row, BusinessWeek has teamed up with Interbrand, a leading brand consultancy, to publish a ranking of 100 of The World's Most Valuable Brands by dollar value. Despite a disapointing fiscal year for several companies, several brands exceeded expectations.

Coca-Cola retained its number one position, and even saw a gain of one per cent. This confirms the notion that consumer product brands tend to hold their own in a recession, says an official release. Also turning in a very strong showing was the Nivea (ranked 91st) brand, which posted the second largest gain with a 16 per cent increase in brand value. Caterpillar debuted at number 79. Both Nivea and Caterpillar had great success with brand extensions in 2001 - Nivea, with focused extensions within its core hand and body cream category; and Caterpillar by taking its brand to new categories by leveraging their brand's value to forge successful licensing deals.

Besides Coca-Cola other companies in the top 10 are Bill Gates' Microsoft, IBM, GE, chip maker Intel, Nokia, media conglomerate Disney, fast food giant McDonald's, cigarette manafacturer Marlboro and automobile manafacturer Mercedes.Among brands in the telecommunications, consumer electronics and semiconductor sectors, Samsung (ranked 34th) had a 30 per cent increase in brand value, to $8.3 billion from $6.4 billion in 2001. Rival telecommunication brands, Nokia (ranked 6th) and Ericsson (ranked 71st), declined 14 per cent and 49 per cent respectively. AT&T (ranked 17th) lost 30 per cent of its brand value.

In the technology brands, Dell (31st) stood out, with a 12 per cent increase in brand value. Its competitor in the PC category, Compaq (27th), lost 21 per cent of its brand's value. According to an official release, Germany's SAP brand (42nd) is the only other technology solutions provider to have increased in brand value, turning in a gain of seven per cent.

In examining what some brands have done to succeed in the teeth of their industries' declines, Interbrand CEO Chuck Brymer said: "In a category of largely undifferentiated brands, Samsung has excelled at delivering superior product design, and has effectively communicated with customers in a brand-focused way. And Dell's brand has always been about superior customer service, and their business model is specifically designed to deliver it."

Though advertising and marketing spending may have tightened up over the past year, the study found that those brands that have put the customer experience first and developed their businesses around it have been rewarded with increases in brand value. Starbucks (93rd) which grew 12 per cent this year is a classic example of a company that capitalises on a strong customer experience, says the release. On the other hand, brands such as Ford (11th) and Merrill Lynch (25th), which lost 32 per cent and 25 per cent respectively, are examples of brands that have lost their customer focus, the release says.

Interbrand, the world's leading branding consultancy and a unit of the Omnicom Group calculated the brand values using the method it pioneered 14 years ago and has since used to value more than 3,000 brands. Brand value is calculated as the net present value of the earnings that the brand is expected to generate and secure in the future. The table identifies the 100 most valuable global brands with a value greater than $1 billion. Brands were selected according to two criteria: First, the brands had to be global, generating significant earnings in the main global markets. Second, there had to be sufficient marketing and financial data publicly available for preparing a reasonable valuation.

BusinessWeek claims to be the world's largest business magazine, with a worldwide circulation of nearly 1.2 million and nearly 5.1 million readers each week.

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