What’s In a Brand

Technology Brands Infuential in 2006
by: Jerry Liao

It’s every entrepreneurs dream that the brand of their product/services will become a household name of every consumer. If that happens, it means the product / service already made it to the top.

In recent years, the only technology brands that are making it to the top 10 are Microsoft, IBM, Intel, and Nokia. The manner of ranking is normally based on its present value and is also based on its earnings or sales. So as you can see, making it to even the Top 100 is no walk in the park. This is a global competition and not just local.

But recently, brandchannel.com, a branding e-magazine commissioned a survey and asks industry professionals and students to rank the top brands.

Google hogged technology headlines and spread its world dominance throughout 2006. The dust barely cleared on its US$ 900 million deal with News Corporation to provide service to sites such as MySpace when it purchased video site YouTube for .65 billion. But perhaps its most noteworthy brand achievement last year was the addition of the verb “to google” in two major English-language dictionaries. (More valuable to shareholders was the stock price cracking the 0 barrier.)

Apple barely edges YouTube for the runner-up slot. The company launched its first computers powered by Intel processors, the iTunes Music Store sold its 1 billionth song, and so far, people haven’t been chucking their iPods for the Microsoft Zune. Apple CEO/deity Steve Jobs has survived an investigation concerning backdated options; similar scandals have felled several other CEOs. In 2007 Jobs plans to walk on water, which he will then turn into wine.

Following Apple are two Readers’ Choice newcomers: the aforementioned YouTube, and the spreading-like-Google Wikipedia. The backbone of both brands is user-created content: one allows you to watch (or upload your own version of) a “Mentos eruption” that occurs when you slip the chewy candies into a bottle of diet cola, while the other details why this junk-food fireworks takes place.

YouTube launched in 2005, and this year, with 20 million monthly visitors, exploded like Mentos in Diet Coke and was named Time’s “Invention of the Year.” And did we mention that Google bought it for .65 billion in stock?

Since its creation comparatively eons ago (2001), Wikipedia grew slowly and steadily (pages in well over 100 languages, with more than 1.5 million articles on the English version alone) as it became the premier—if not always accurate—online research tool.

In a virtual tie for fifth place are perennial favorites Starbucks and Nokia, proving caffeine and cellphones haven’t gone out of style. In 2006, the java giant added more franchises in China and also branched into the entertainment business as one of the producers of the film Akeelah and the Bee.

Nokia and Siemens AG created one of the world’s largest network firms, called Nokia Siemens Networks, by merging their mobile and fixed-line phone network equipment businesses.

Unlike other brand rankings that crunch financial numbers, the Readers’ Choice poll measures brand impact according to brandchannel readers. “Impact” can be good or bad. For instance, Sony could have impacted you positively with its PlayStation 3, negatively with a malfunctioning laptop battery, or both.

The study runs online and is open to the public during November and December. Votes can be cast for up to five brands per region; respondents can only vote once per region but no section is mandatory.

More than 3,600 people from 99 countries voted in the 2006 poll. The greatest number of voters fell in the age range of 26 to 35 year olds, with an almost equal number of men and women. Voters claiming employment with actual brands as opposed to agencies was greater by half.

Respondents per region equal: 3,625 for Global; 1,595 for US & Canada; 1,420 for Asia-Pacific; 1,358 for Europe & Africa; and 581 for Latin America.

The top five brands for the various areas are as follows:

Global : 1.Google 2. Apple 3. YouTube, 4. Wikipedia 5. Starbucks.

Asia Pacific : 1. Sony, 2. Toyota, 3. HSBC, 4. Samsung, 5. Honda.

Central and Latin America : 1. Corona 2. Bacardi 3. Movistar 4. Havaianas 5. Bimbo.

Europe and Africa : 1. Ikea 2. Skype 3. Nokia 4. Zara 5. Adidas.

US and Canada : 1. Apple 2. Youtube 3. Google 4. Starbucks 5. Wikipedia.

The entire survey result can be found at http://www.brandchannel.com

*****

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