October is becoming the month of the brand.
Interbrand published its annual “Best Global Brands” this week, and according to The New York Times and other sources, we can prepare to see a few seismic shifts in power. Technology brands have upset the veritable fruit cart, as Apple takes the number one spot over Coca-Cola, with a brand valuation of $98.3
billion — an increase of 28% in just one year. Not all brands fared as well, as Blackberry disappeared from the list altogether and Nokia fell further than anyone, ranking 57th.
Coca-Cola reigned as the king of the mountain for the past 13 years in the survey, but it was a matter of time before technology brands like Google and Apple moved into top positions. Bastions of a traditional consumer culture like McDonald’s, General Electric, and Toyota remained at their respective places in the top ten.
Samsung also ascended the charts with a new brand strategy called the “Brand Ideal,” which includes a focus on social purpose, according to Sue Shim, CMO of Samsung. “That reflected research indicating that Americans would switch brands to one that was associated with improving people’s lives,” she said.
Apple Passes Coca-Cola as Most Valuable Brand
Two magazines — one trade and one consumer — arrived with the same brand-themed content this week. From the folks at New York Magazine, we get “Launch. Hack. Meow.” — a curated collection of visionary 22 new-era business builders like Tumblr’s David Karp, or Alison Pincus and Susan Feldman, founders of One Kings Lane. The article takes a smart approach to understanding new start up, mega-success brands, essentially positioning the developments as “post-Lehman” age insights — the tangible value and business results of a group of young, ebullient titans of opportunity and futurism.
As the magazine compellingly states, “The real economy is the one that still makes industrial parts in the Midwest and populates the office parks of the American landscape, but there is also the experiential economy: The one that alters the American appetite and invents new brands that lodge themselves into our psyches.”
“If the individuals here haven’t all made a killing off the post-crash rebound, they have helped to define what this current economic moment feels like. Perhaps it’s not surprising that many of them are young, very young—so young they were still in school during the last downturn.”
On the industry side, Adweek was hosting the 2013 Brand Genius Awards last week, while their weekly print edition featured a cover story on leaders like Chobani’s Hamdi Ulukaya, Russell Simmons, or CMO of the National Football League, Mark Waller.
As Adweek notes, “Ask the winners of the 2013 Brand Genius Awards about effective branding and you’ll hear ‘an authentic, compelling social experiment’ and ‘an approach that’s a bit disruptive,” or ‘being comfortable with feeling uncomfortable.’” Contemporary marketing truly is breaking through to redefine traditional principles of doing business.
The magazine features interviews with its award-winners to gain insights from their experiences, and just as New York Magazine does, it uses terms like “visionary” and “risk-taking.” As Kevin Mayer, VP of marketing for Volkswagen said, “We’re using lifestyle marketing to be more engaged in new customers’ lifestyles and passions.”
If there is a common thread in the words used to describe new marketing and branding, it seems to focus on breaking away from standard advertising language, to connect with consumers through authenticity, a sense of community, and a genuine desire to make a difference in the world. Building brand equity through altruism. . . who would have ever guessed?
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