An annual study of the most valuable global brands finds tech companies leading the way. Not surprising, I guess, as consumer loyalty is at the heart of brand value — and consumers are dedicated to their technical tools and toys.
The top four in the "BrandZ Top 100 report" from research firm Millward Brown Optimor: Google, IBM, Apple and Microsoft. Apple and IBM enjoyed the biggest increase (among the top 10) in value over 2009 at 32% and 30%, respectively. The rest of the top 10: Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Marlboro, China Mobile, General Electric and Vodafone.
Other tech brands that exprienced strong growth included Verizon (No. 20), SAP (No. 21), AT&T (No. 22), Samsung (at No. 58 with 80% brand growth) and Sony (No. 94).
A common trend among many companies was the utilization of social media to build brand awareness. It didn’t make the top 100, but one of those social media tools — Facebook — did show a brand dollar value of $5.5 billion.
Google was number one for the fourth straight year. The research firm interviewed more than one million consumers worldwide in addition to analyzing each company’s financial and business performance.
I admit to some mixed reactions in reading a Midwest Business.com column. It referenced a Forbes article on 10 dying cities in America. Four — Canton, Cleveland, Dayton and Youngstown — in Ohio were joined by Detroit and Flint, Michigan.
I was happy to see no Indiana cities on the list, but disappointed as the Midwest took a beating. If we’re to believe that regional economic impact that everyone keeps talking about, dying cities to our east and north can’t be a good thing.
The mixed thoughts went away as the writer went on to contrast Fort Wayne with the "dying 10." He noted that the city experienced similar challenges in job losses and corporate moves, but that "the political leaders saw what was coming and they got out of a traditional mode of approaching economic development." He detailed some of the expansion and efficiency measures and also cited the fiber-to-the-premises investment by Verizon as critical.