Brands are one of the most powerful tools used in business.  From restaurants to retail, almost any business can benefit considerably from a powerful brand image.  Brands communicate trust, professionalism, playfulness, or any other desired message.  The most powerful brands are simple and can stand the test of time.

Global consulting firm Interbrand released the top 100 brands for 2011.  The top ten are Coca-Cola, IBM, Microsoft, Google, General Electric, McDonald’s, Intel, Apple, Disney, and Hewlett-Packard.  Nestled among the top 100 include Toyota, Nokia, UPS, Budweiser, Ikea, eBay, MTV, Visa, Starbucks, and Ferrari.

Most of the top 100 brands are from the United States, but many successful brands also come from Japan, Germany, France, and the UK.  What is most striking about the list (found here at ) is how ubiquitous these brands and their logos are.  Even people who do not think they pay much attention to brands or advertising have had these logos etched deeply into their subconscious.  We are affected by brands whether we like it or not.

According to Coca-Cola’s official website, more than 1.6 billion drinks made by the Coca-Cola Company are consumed per day.  Coca-Cola is successful for a myriad of reasons.  Coca-Cola’s brand, and its advertising, relies on our emotional connection to the brand.  It has history, which lends credibility and a feeling of nostalgia.  Coca-Cola means playfulness, fun, love, and value.  Coca-Cola has done a tremendous job of successfully evolving with the times, and also places a strong emphasis on consumer satisfaction and feedback.  Coca-Cola offers a wide variety of flavors, but is careful not to lose its classic charm and appeal.

Successful brands have three key attributes: authenticity, consistency, and differentiation. Authenticity cannot be conjured or faked or contrived. Great brands are real and without pretense. Consistency is the experience that customer cherishes about a brand; tested by time, the brand delivers value again and again. Finally, the uniqueness of the brand is what makes it recognizable.

Brands are a promise of value.

John Bradley Jackson
© Copyright 2012
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