Apple edges out IBM to become the top brand of 2011

Apple has edged out IBM to become the top brand of 2011, according to an annual list from marketing strategy firm Davis Brand Capital. The Cupertino-based company ousted IBM, which topped the list in 2009 and 2010. Apple was previously ranked No.12 in 2009 and No.7 in 2010. Davis evaluates the top 25 brands annually using five categories that go beyond traditional marketing functions. “The annual 2011 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking evaluates companies’ abilities to manage and balance the five key intangible categories that comprise brand capital: brand value; competitive performance; innovation strength; company culture; and social impact,” the company said in a press release. “The ranking does not aim to place a financial value on the brand capital of the companies. Rather, the list reveals the comparative strength and breadth of the companies’ brand capital.” As in previous years, the rankings were dominated by technology companies such as Google, Microsoft, HP, Cisco, Intel and Samsung. Read on for the complete list of Davis Brand Capital top 25.

Davis Names Top-25 Companies with Most Brand Capital in 2011
Top-performing Brand Capital Managers Best S&P 500 in 2011; Apple Takes #1 Spot on List Dominated by Tech Leaders; Toyota Reappears at #20 After Precipitous Fall

ATLANTA, Feb 06, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Davis Brand Capital today released the 2011 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking, which evaluates brand beyond its traditional marketing function and considers it as a blend of key intangibles. It is the only annual ranking of companies demonstrating comprehensive and balanced approaches to managing the full spectrum of brand capital, which provides an indication of the strength and effectiveness of an entire business.

The top-performing companies on the Davis Brand Capital 25 outpaced the S&P 500 in 2011. A hypothetical stock portfolio consisting of these companies, with holdings proportionately allocated according to each company’s position in the ranking, outperformed the S&P 500 by 9.32 percent.

The annual 2011 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking evaluates companies’ abilities to manage and balance the five key intangible categories that comprise brand capital: brand value; competitive performance; innovation strength; company culture; and social impact. The ranking does not aim to place a financial value on the brand capital of the companies. Rather, the list reveals the comparative strength and breadth of the companies’ brand capital.

“Brand now functions as the primary container of intangible value. Factors once viewed only internally by company management, such as company culture and innovation strength, are now broadcast to customers regularly through brand,” said Patrick T. Davis, chief executive officer of Davis Brand Capital, based in Atlanta. Studies by the Federal Reserve place yearly investment in intangibles by U.S. companies at more than $1 trillion. “We believe it is increasingly important to track the companies excelling in the management of these intangibles,” said Davis.

Apple (AAPL) tops the list for the first time, moving up from #12 in ’09 and #7 in ’10. The company’s rise in this year’s rankings was driven largely by its competitive performance and added brand value. Customers and investors alike continue to reward Apple for the transformative innovations it brings to the world through its marketing and business prowess.

IBM (IBM) ranks second this year, after holding the top spot for two consecutive years. Google (GOOG) enjoyed a meteoric rise from #11 in ’09 to #4 in this year’s ranking. Rounding out the top five, Microsoft (MSFT) remained at #3 again this year, and Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) dropped from the #2 spot in ’10 to #5.

As in prior years, the ranking is dominated by technology leaders, which comprise nearly 30 percent of the ranked companies. Intel (INTC) and Cisco Systems (CSCO) also make the 2011 ranking, placing #8 and #10 respectively.

“Technology is the infrastructure of our daily lives now, and these companies are exceptional at delivering value, building trust and creating culture. They also tend to be more transparent and use their technologies to convey their strengths,” said Davis.

Automakers also are well represented on this year’s rankings. Toyota Motor Corporation (TM) reappears at #20, signifying a rebound in consumer trust and financial performance after a wave of high-profile product recalls and related controversy. Last year, the company dropped from the ’10 ranking entirely, despite having a strong showing in ’09 at #8. BMW (BMW-DE) moves up one position to #11 this year, and Daimler (DAI-DE) debuts on the ranking at #15. Volkswagen (VOW-DE) moves down four spots this year from #21 to #17. Both Ford (F) and Honda (HMC) drop from the ’11 rankings after holding the #23 and #18 spots respectively in ’10.

Coca-Cola continues its steady climb up the rankings, moving from #16 in ’09 to #14 in ’10 and landing at #9 on this year’s ranking. Arch-rival PepsiCo narrows Coca-Cola’s lead in ’11 with its #12 ranking, moving up from #24 in ’09 (not ranked in ’10) and representing the largest two-year gain of any brand on the list.

After improving its ranking from #10 in ’09 to #5 in ’10, discount retailer Wal-Mart (WMT) drops the most of any other company in ’11 both in terms of its two-year and year-over-year performance, ranking #24. Samsung Electronics has the second-largest drop in year-over-year performance, falling from #8 in ’10 to #23 in ’11.

Though still dealing with the aftermath of the global economic crisis and forward-looking financial anxiety, several financial services companies do appear on the ’11 ranking. Citigroup makes its debut on this year’s list at #16. Wells Fargo also debuts on the ’11 rankings at #25, and Goldman Sachs drops two spots from #16 in ’10 to #18. Financial services firms JPMorgan and HSBC drop from this year’s rankings entirely, after holding the #11 and #22 spots respectively in ’10.

This year, the Davis Brand Capital Scores have a much tighter range than previous years’ rankings, indicating collectively stronger performance for the 25 brands included on the list. “More than ever, companies are realizing the importance of proactively managing their collection of intangibles,” said Davis. “The companies listed on the 2011 Davis Brand Capital 25 represent the best-of-the-best globally, and inclusion anywhere on the list is testament to their exceptional power and far-reaching influence.”

Many major consumer and packaged goods brands are notably absent from the list. “Excellence in traditional product brand management alone is no longer enough,” said Davis. “Big consumer brands build great value in the marketplace and with the consumer, but that is only one component of brand capital. And it does not necessarily mean the brands represent companies that excel in managing broader intangibles. A more holistic approach is needed to earn a place among the extraordinary companies on this list.”

The 2011 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking is based on a study of 10 distinct data sets. It is a compilation and analysis of annual performance rankings published in industry-leading and specialized annual lists, plus Davis Brand Capital’s proprietary processes and analysis. Each of the five key areas of brand capital is given equal importance to achieve an integrated, balanced evaluation.

Prior to the Davis Brand Capital 25, annual brand performance rankings were not evaluated and aggregated to reveal the comparative strength of companies’ brand capital. “It is essential now for senior executives to understand that brand capital reflects a collection of key intangible attributes determining systemic success. Well-managed brand capital signals the overall health and effectiveness of a business today,” said Davis.

The ranking will be updated yearly, with the 2012 Davis Brand Capital 25 released in January, 2013.

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