Google, the most valuable brand in the world
According to the Financial Times/Millward Brown BrandZ study announced today, Google is the most valuable brand in the world, having jumped 77% from its ranking last year. GE and Microsoft (last year’s top dog) take the number two and three slots respectively. Yahoo is number 42. The ranking is calculated using a combination of consumer perception and financial data.
What got Google to the top slot? Its “single-minded determination,” according to the FT‘s John Gapper. Based on the vision of its founders, the company had a purpose and ethos from day one, and that translated into a corporate culture dedicated to being the best (earlier this year, Google was also named Best Company to Work For by Fortune magazine). Along the way, founders Brin and Page resisted “pressure to meet short-term earnings targets” and stayed true to the brand by not adding display ads to its homepage – unlike search rival Yahoo.
So can Google stay on top? Many are eager to predict a consumer backlash of the type Microsoft has suffered and the word “monopoly” is being whispered in relation to its proposed takeover of DoubleClick. The answer will depend in large part on whether the company continues to stay true to its brand and the values that underpin it.
I’ve always been a passionate believer in the power of the brand, and am often frustrated when brands are subjugated to the need to make a quick buck. I hope companies the world over heed the words below (again, from John Gapper of the FT):
“A corporate brand, like a human reputation, is something of immense value. Yet it is also intangible and there is always a temptation to do something for short-term gain that can damage it in the long term.
“Many companies have given in to this temptation by reducing the quality of their products or stretching their brands unwisely, only to spend years attempting to repair the damage. This gives those who manage to resist it the chance to develop brands of huge value both to customers and shareholders.”
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