2014 Study Shows U.S. Corporate Brands on Road to Recovery

Press release from the issuing company

Friday, March 28th, 2014

CoreBrand, a leading brand strategy and communications firm and creator of the Corporate Branding Index, which provides continuous benchmarking data, insights and corporate brand valuation for more than 1,000 companies, across 50 industries, released today its seventh annual Top 100 Most Powerful Brands Report , which ranks the top 100 corporate brands in terms of market reputation and awareness.

"In 2013, we saw corporate brands break out of the funk they've been in since the 2008 financial crisis," commentedJames R. Gregory, founder and CEO of CoreBrand. "2012 was a slow year in regards to recovery, with the average brand ranking gaining only a fraction of a point. This year, we saw that number jump nearly a full point – in research terms, that is huge. As the economy continues to recover, we see that the business decision maker is regaining confidence in companies."

"The most powerful brands hold the ability to impact business results," added Gregory. "By carefully tracking and analyzing these top brands for sustained periods of time, we have gained unique insight on companies and entire industries. This information informs corporate strategies moving forward, by demonstrating how companies and competitors are affected, in both the short and long term."

The report shows that Amazon and Google were some of the year's biggest winners, both having jumped up the rankings in 2013. CBSWalgreens and UPS were some of the biggest losers, all falling 11 spots in the rankings. Among the brands in the top 10, Kellogg's experienced the biggest decline, falling four spots. Additionally, Consumer-cyclical and Consumer-staple brands represent 58 of the top 100 corporate brands, indicating that the most powerful brands have a strong connection to consumers.

CoreBrand's Top 100 Most Powerful Brands Rankings are derived from an annual survey of more than 10,000 business decision-makers from the top 20 percent of U.S. businesses. This senior business audience (VP level and above) represents the investment community, potential business partners, and business customers across 50 key industries. CoreBrand researches perceptions on brand Familiarity and Favorability for each company in its Corporate Branding Index (CBI) and combines them to develop a single indicator of brand strength, or its BrandPower. The Top 100 Most Powerful Brands highlights and showcases the very best and strongest corporate brands tracked by CoreBrand. The companies on this list benefit from both high awareness (Familiarity) and positive brand perceptions (Favorability). To be included in the Top 100 Most Powerful Brands Rankings, companies must be considered a corporate brand and have been publicly traded and tracked by CoreBrand for more than five years.

Key Observations

  • Top 100 Corporate Brands at Highest Scores Since 2009 – In 2008, the average BrandPower of the top 100 brands was 65.7. That average dropped through 2009 and into 2010, bottoming out at 61.7, for a loss of four points or six percent in just two years. In recent years, brands have experienced a minor bounce back. In 2013, the average BrandPower was 63.6, gaining back nearly half of what was lost since 2008, which indicates that brands are breaking out of the doldrums that have held them back due to the economy.
  • Top 5 Growing Corporate Brands Communicated Aggressively – Research reveals that the five companies that gained the most traction on CoreBrand's list from 2008 - 2013 were much more aggressive communicators than the five companies that lost the most traction in the same period. While many companies pulled back from communications spend during the economic meltdown, the top five gainers showed greater commitment to remaining visible than the companies that cut. The message is clear and consistent with our findings from previous recoveries; the brands that were more aggressively communicating during the economic downturn were hurt less and have had a more robust recovery than those companies that chose to view communications as an expense to be cut.
  • Market Performance, a Driver of Brand Recovery – Overall market performance in 2013 has resulted in increased awareness of the brands in this study. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) grew 23.6 percent from 13,412.60 to 16,576.66. However, high unemployment and economic uncertainty are likely continuing to hamper a more visible corporate brand recovery by suppressing Favorability growth.