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Interbrand on ’06’s Best Global Brands 

News while I was away: Interbrand has released its Best Global Brands table, as advised on email by my friend and colleague Stanley Moss, a fellow Medinge director. Our concern at Medinge: what is the ?
   When we wrote Beyond Branding, we questioned many of using traditional financial models. Here, we wonder about the rigour of Interbrand’s ones. Is GE such a strong , if one used research, to come in fourth, after , Microsoft and ? Indeed, does IBM have the same halo among as it once did? And just how connected is Coca-Cola with its public?
   Surely, ’s decline in 2005–6 could have been by examining the brand, if theory holds up. Yet a sharp decline only shows up in this year’s results, with the brand losing 16 per cent of its value, according to Interbrand. I’d argue the same for Gap (down 22 per cent) and Kodak, other declining that Interbrand singled out.
    (up 46 per cent), eBay and Starbucks are identified as brands that strengthened a great deal in 2005–6, which perhaps is not a huge surprise.
   Intel, Nokia, Toyota, Disney, McDonald’s and round off the remaining top 10 places, experiencing a 14 per cent growth (something we could have told you anecdotally) and Mercedes a 9 per cent one (ditto, as its products improve).
   I shouldn’t really complain. The Interbrand study is one of the more comprehensive ones, and I do look forward to the table each year.
   And it is useful to the practitioner, potentially confirming what we have sensed while working in the field. Without studying the firms ourselves in many cases, all we have are anecdotes and instincts.
   This year, I’m fascinated more by the 11th to 20th positions, all companies that recorded gains. American Express, BMW, Gillette and Louis Vuitton did well—and we have been privy to some of their info that also suggests .
   A story on this year’s index appears in the current issue of Business Week.

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I saw more Louis Vuitton in Tokyo then sushi, by about 10 times. All real too, I'm an expert fake spotter. After seeing that I'm not suprised they did well global.

I am suprised by the number of basically affluent, intelligent, New Zealanders that will settle for a fake LV purse. If a $900 LV wallet buys you fake status, what does a fake $9 dollar LV wallet buy you? Fake-fake status? Maybe they think the double-negative cancels itself out?

Bit of topic but its a peeve.  
The LV stores are amazing all over Asia and Tokyo is a prime market. Good potential topic, Dan—while not an LV expert, I can occasionally spot some of the fake Swiss watches. One would only be fooling oneself wearing them. If I cannot afford a fancy brand, what is the shame of buying a cheaper one, if one has self-respect? Or, for that matter, go for a quirkier brand that might have a $200 or $300 watch.  
I would be interested to see an even more distilled report by specific market (e.g. Eastern vs. Western US, Coastal China, Scandinavia, etc.). I've noticed some curious brand strengths as I have traveled that I wouldn't have thought to exist and which conflict with a specific brand's strength or weakness in another market. The global scope of the Interbrand report obviously factors in all of the regional differences but I imagine a more detailed report would provide some pretty powerful data.

For example (...and I doubt I am pointing out anything new...), noting IBM's position, I think it would be interesting to see what the company's annual change in the Chinese market has been in relation to that of Lenovo. Similarly, there are a number of dominant foreign brands in various emerging markets, and depending on the market (China, India, and much of Southeast Asia come to mind), a strong decrease or increase in brand value for that isolated market may indicate a significant pending future change for the company's global brand value.

I imagine such reports are available but was unable to turn anything meaningful up -- any idea where I might be able to find such data?  
Hi Peter: thank you for visiting and for your off-blog message, which I will get to soon.
   I don’t think the survey is broken by region (unlike Brandchannel’s, owned by Interbrand), which is another shortcoming. Brandchannel’s surveys, based on internet votes, give a useful indication but nothing in terms of a real analysis of brand equity. (But those votes may well preempt drops in brand equity!)
   As borders rise, Peter, you are right that we may begin noticing these cultural differences. Buick, for instance, is a huge brand in China, while it declines Stateside. It even offered a subcompact. These differences do not travel well, even if I have been an advocate of “international” marketing as a means of creating understanding.  
Ah Buick! I was probing the depths of my horrid short-term memory for the name of the car company I kept hearing about over and over in China. I was quite surprised to hear people refer to Buicks as if they were a highly valued brand as the company's perception in the US, as you note, is quite different.  
Not only that, among these supposedly lovely cars was the Buick Sail, or the old Opel Corsa B.
   The brand’s goodwill is amazing, however. Pre-war, one in five cars in China was a Buick, bought by rich types. For the brand equity to survive for so long, into the 1990s, is a pretty neat trick. These days, Buick fields a unique LaCrosse model for China, with totally different sheetmetal to the original.  
What baffles me is the total lack of input from online relevance in this list.

We've tried to do a little spiel on this: http://blog.futurelab.net/2006/06/the_futurelab_100.html

Very sketchy still, as its all done by hand, and leaves out a lot of relevant data (for instance, country-websites), but hopefully a start of something fun :)

As we're preparing to do the same comparison for the 2006 Interbrand list, any comments/ideas/tips on methodology etc would be VERY welcome.

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