Best Brands of the World: What Makes Them Tops?

What makes a “BEST BRAND”?  Trust?  Consistency?  Simplicity of Purpose?  Niche? Money?

Here are 5 links to brand ranking articles, lists and websites that I find have interesting branding insights:

  • The Interbrand Survey has a list of the best global brands of 2008 from September 2008
  • BusinessWeek offers their view of the Best Global Brands response to the recession… although this report is from September 2008. These brands are ranked based on the proportion of income as a result from the brand, role of the brand in how people choose and how strong the brand is.
  • For a look at brand logos over the years, check the link to logos on the best brands of the world website. I love that it has many of the logo variations over the years from different brands.
  • Forbes photo list of top Strongest Automobile brands in the US.  An excerpt from their March 11,  2009 article called America’s Strongest Automakers:

 “I say ‘Toyota,’ and you say ‘reliability’. I say ‘BMW,’ and you say ‘engineering’. I say ‘General Motors,’ and people go ‘uh?’ And that ‘uh?’ That’s the sound of a brand dying.” 

That lack of niche is definitely a branding problem, although I found they also listed Chevrolet among the top 10 auto brands. Forgive me, but isn’t that a GM brand? Does GM market any car as a GM car or are they all their own brand. I can say Toyota Camry, Honda Accord… but I don’t say GM Chevy or GM Saturn. Chevy and Saturn are their own brands, right?

I’d appreciate your thoughts.

Author: Chris Brown

Business owner operating a marketing consulting firm. Online Publisher. Keynote Speaker.

3 thoughts on “Best Brands of the World: What Makes Them Tops?”

  1. I think that’s a really good point about the GM before the car brand name and wonder sometimes about the way the American manufacturers built the organizations.

    I think its in Scott Davis’ book that there was a great chart about the 4 types of brand management organizations ranging from House of Brands where the product (or service) brands themselves are marketed, but the parent company is relatively silent – to a Branded House where the Parent brand is marketed and the product brands are the afterthought. Car companies fell in between with endorsement brands where the manufacturer of the brand was supposed to just add to the value of the product brand.

    But in the American car manufacturing space, there’s a funny difference on just the names themselves:

    Honda Accord. Nissan Maxima. Audi A4. It’s [Manufacturer] [Model] in many cases.

    Now here’s GM:

    GM Chevy Impala
    GM Pontiac g8
    GM Saab 9-3
    [Manufacturer] [Used to be manufacturer] [Model]

    GM is superfluous as a brand, especially to me since they never tried to market to create value to the GM name. A holding company is rarely just given value by the consumers. They have to prove value to the consumers. Also, there’s some brand equity confusion here about the brands that were acquired. Acquiring a brand, then saddling it with a confusing not helpful circumstance diminishes the value of the brand just purchased. An often overlooked aspect of brand M&A.

    So to my eyes, there’s always been a problem with GM’s branding. I’ve never seen their budgets or internal strategies, but it would seem to me that if they’ve used any resources at all trying to reinforce GM with consumers, they could have probably done more for themselves marketing the sub brands instead.

  2. Craig, with respect – Toyota and Honda both have sub brands similar to GM. Toyota has Lexus. You never see Toyota Lexus and Honda has Acura, you also never see Honda Acura. GM’s sub-brands would be their automotive families, Chevrolet, Buick etc.

    As much as consumers know it a General Motors vehicle, their relationship is with a particular sub-brand like Chevy. Chevy people are as loyal as Honda people. I think GM’s biggest problem is that their corporate brand only stood for BIG corporate fat cats, as in the statement “too big to fail.” They lost touch with their human side – their customers and their needs.

    Volvo=safety, Honda=Reliability, Toyota =manufacturing quality, all attributes that show respect for their customers desires in a car. Mazda=fun (zoom,zoom) Lose touch with your base and it’s a long road back.

  3. Dear people, my name is Asen Minkov and i’m a student. I’m doing a course work in branding and my subject is Honda. I’m having some troubles regarding the brand architecture of Honda and it’s main competitors – Toyota, Ford and GM. From what i’ve been reading recently and what you’ve written above I think i can say that i do distinguish a sub-brand from a product line, in theory, but i’m still having problems with naming each companies (except for GM, where it’s pretty clear) sub-brands. Sorry for interrupting you all, but i will really appreciate any help that is offered. Have a nice day !

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