Consumer-facing companies made up more than half of the Top 100 BrandPower Rankings Report released this month by CoreBrand.
Coca-Cola ranked number one on the list for the sixth year running, while Hershey and Harley-Davidson came in second and third, respectively, for the second consecutive year.
Technology companies saw the largest gains in the rankings, making up five of the top 10 BrandPower gainers since 2007. Google made the biggest leap, moving 93 spots in five years. Yahoo, Apple, Dell and Samsung also made significant gains.
The rankings provide a market-view evaluation of corporate brand strength regardless of industry affiliation. CoreBrand researches brand familiarity and favorability and then combines the two to develop a single indicator of brand strength for each tracked company; the companies on the list benefit from both high awareness (familiarity) and positive brand perceptions (favorability). To be included in the rankings, companies must be considered a corporate brand and have been publicly traded and tracked by CoreBrand for more than five years.
CoreBrand says in 2012 there was a general decline in companies’ favorability scores, which measures overall reputation, perception of management and investment potential. “We found that in the current climate, consumers are evaluating corporate brands more harshly, and these brand criticisms are being amplified with the proliferation of social media and the 24-hour news cycles,” said James Gregory, founder and CEO of CoreBrand. “Now more than ever, companies need to improve the quality of their messages to the marketplace and focus on rebuilding trust.”
The financial sector experienced the most setbacks, with Charles Schwab falling nearly 40 spots and Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase declining by more than 20. The credit card industry performed better, with Visa, MasterCard and American Express making the list’s top 20.
The report also showed the top 25 brands are receiving a disproportionate share of the blame for the current economic climate. “In the wake of the financial crisis of 2008, we found that the top 25 brands overall are recovering a bit slower than the lower 75 brands,” Gregory added.
The list is derived from an annual survey of more than 10,000 business decision-makers from the top 20 percent of U.S. businesses who represent the investment community, potential partners and customers. Companies are judged by a measure of whether or not survey respondents are familiar with their brand and perception of overall reputation.
Kellogg, Visa and UPS, which are all featured in the BrandPower top 20, were also recently included in Ethisphere’s 2013 World’s Most Ethical Companies, a designation recognizing companies that consistently translate business ethics rhetoric into action.