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The Coca-Cola brand has seen its value plummet by close to $10 billion over the last year and for the first time finds itself outside the list of the world's top 10 most valuable brands, according to the annual Brand Finance 500 study which was released today. According to Brand Finance, the Coke brand is now worth $25 billion, down from close to $35 billion in 2010. The UK-based brand valuation company says that the fall is underpinned by changing consumer patterns in western countries which have seen a "move towards healthier, non-carbonated drinks". The brand now finds itself ranked in 16th place. Last year it had been in the number three spot.
Funnily enough, though, the Pepsi brand, which sits on another carbonated drink, of course, has increased in value by over $3.5 billion and has climbed back into the top 25. Recently it emerged that sales of Diet Coke has overtaken those of Pepsi in the US. However, Pepsi is very visible in a number of emerging markets, so maybe that explains the rise.
According to Brand Finance, the world's number one brand in terms of value is Google, which is said to be worth $44.3 billion. In second place is Microsoft ($42.8 billion), with Wal-Mart in third ($36.2 billion). Nine of the top 10 are American brands. Vodafone from the UK in at number 5 prevents a clean sweep. The top 10 in full is:
1. Google, $44.3 billion
2. Microsoft, $42.8 billion
3. Wal-Mart, $36.2 billion
4. IBM, $36.1 billion
5. Vodafone, $30.7 billion
6. Bank of America, $30.6 billion
7. GE, $30.5 billion
8. Apple, $29.5 billion
9. Well's Fargo, $28.95 billion
10. AT&T, $28.8 billion
Obviously, brand valuations are entirely subjective and if you compare the various surveys that are published on this subject each year you do see wild fluctuations between them in the results. The Brand Finance one tends to veer towards the lower side, but it is worth pointing out that the methods the company uses are fully compliant with the recently agreed international brand valuation standard. That's not a huge surprise given that the company's CEO David Haigh was closely involved in getting it drawn up!
Whichever way you look at it, though, well-established, well-recognised brands are worth a hell of a lot of money. And although there is a lot more to brands than trademarks, it does means that if you are working in-house as a trademark operator, the job that you are doing is absolutely vital to the maintenance (as well as the creation, of course) of profoundly important assets. I am sure that this is not huge news to the trademark practitioners reading this blog, but I wonder how many other people appreciate it. My suspicion is that it is not as many as should be the case.
World Trademark Review, IAM's sister publication, will be running an in-depth article on the Brand Finance rankings in its next issue, which publishes at the end of April.
Brands, IP valuation