Claim: The three most valuable brand names on Earth are Marlboro, Coca Cola, and Budweiser, in that order.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, August 2001]
"The 3 most valuable brand names on earth: Marlboro, Coca-Cola, and Budweiser, in that order."
Origins: The value of a recognized brand name is both difficult to estimate and difficult to overestimate. Certainly companies with long established, widely recognized brand names don't overestimate their value, spending millions of dollars in advertising every year not to directly promote sales of specific products but simply to keep their brand names in front of the public. So of all the millions of brands in the world, which ones are at the top of the heap? Which companies have been the most successful at constantly nurturing their brands to keep pace in a rapidly changing world?
A long-circulated bit of Internet trivia attempts to surprise readers by informing them that the "three most valuable brand names on Earth"
Assigning comparative values to brand names is a process that involves a number of subjective elements, so brand rankings vary depending upon who is doing the ranking and what criteria they use. One of the most prominent organizations in this field is Interbrand, a global branding consultancy that (among their other business activities) assigns values to brand names and publishes an annual list of brand name rankings, subject to some qualifications:
- At least 30 percent of revenues must come from outside the brand's home region.
- It must have a presence in at least three major continents, as well as broad geographic coverage in emerging markets.
- There must be sufficient publicly available data on the brand's financial performance.
- Economic profit must be expected to be positive over the longer term, delivering a return above the brand’s operating and financing costs.
- The brand must have a public profile and awareness above and beyond its own marketplace.
Millward Brown's BrandZ 2013 list of the "Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands," which is more inclusive than Interbrand's and is based on a database of feedback from millions of consumers and professionals, shows the
A comparison of the two organizations' most recent rankings shows a good deal of similarity in the top seven spots:
|Interbrand (2013)||Brandz (2013)|
|#1 Apple||#1 Apple|
|#2 Google||#2 Google|
|#3 Coca-Cola||#3 IBM|
|#4 IBM||#4 McDonald's|
|#5 Microsoft||#5 Coca-Cola|
|#6 General Electric||#6 AT&T|
|#7 McDonald's||#7 Microsoft|
But Mark Ritson, writing for MarketingWeek, noted that the different approaches employed by Interbrand and BrandZ can also produce some quite disparate results:
The problem for the two companies involved, and marketers in general, is how far apart their annual estimates of brand value tend to be. For example, in 2010 BrandZ estimated the value of the Google brand to be
In contrast, Interbrand valued Google’s brand at
The vast $70 billion difference is not derived from a difference of
| Best Global Brands (2013) |
| Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands (2013) |