Demonstrating the strength of their corporate brands, the top two spots on CoreBrand's 2008 Corporate Branding Index have remained unchanged since 2004, with The Coca-Cola Company in first place, and Johnson & Johnson in second place.
Harley-Davidson moved up one place to third, replacing Hershey Foods (now in fourth). Campbell Soup moved up one spot to fifth place, replacing Hallmark, which is now sixth.
"The current economic crisis isn’t a brand crisis,” said CoreBrand CEO, James Gregory. “Corporate brands remain strong in the face of the downturn. However, some strong brands are being run over by the economy because brands are not stronger than the underlying financials of a corporation (for example, GE has a relatively strong brand, but has significant financial exposure, so the brand is hurting)."
Kudos to Kellogg's
Of the top 10, only Kellogg Company in 10th place has shown significant growth, rising from 15th in 2007 and from 21st place in 2005. Further down the list: Quaker Oats rose five places to 26th, Del Monte Foods dropped five places to 40th, Nestlé rose five places to 76th, Kraft also rose five places to 78th, HJ Heinz dropped one place to 80th, and Sara Lee gained a whole 10 places, taking the 82nd slot.
Starbucks had a notable loss, as it dropped from 10th place in 2007 to 14th place in 2008. This isn't a major surprise, since its latest publicity has focused on store closings and competitive pressures. Further down, McDonald’s rose 12 places to 44th, while Wendy’s rose five places to 48th.
PepsiCo has also been dropping at an alarming rate, from fourth place in 2005 to 11th place in 2007, to 18th place in 2008. Perhaps its new corporate identity programme will generate some fizz in its corporate brand.
In retail, Wal-Mart rose from 32nd in 2007 to 29th in 2009, but down 10 places from its 19th position in 2005. Further down the list, Target slipped four places to 38th.
The Corporate Branding Index, a quantitative research study among business decision makers in the US, has been conducted continuously since 1990, with 1,200 companies across 49 industries. Over 12,000 surveys are completed annually. CoreBrand's Brand Power rankings are based on the ‘familiarity’ and ‘favourability’ of these business decision makers towards the corporate reputation of these companies.
This report isn’t a consumer popularity poll, but rather a study of how corporate brands influence the attitudes of business leaders to do business with each other; to attract investors, partners, B2B customers, and ultimately the impact they have on market capitalisation.