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Economic Snapshot: The World's Best Brands


The more things change, the more they stay the same.


Marketing reps were thrown into the conference room this week after branding consultancy Interbrand (OMC) released its annual list of the top 100 brands in the world. Although several companies enjoyed a healthy rise in the charts -- or a comfortable hold since last year -- the overall brand value fell 4.6% to $1.15 trillion. This year's designated period -- June 2008 to June 2009 -- was the first time that the combined value of the 100 companies fell in 10 years.

Depleted consumer confidence had an effect across the board, according to Interbrand CEO Jez Frampton. Speaking with the Associated Press, Frampton said, "That says something about the environment that we're in, especially when you consider that brands are by nature less volatile than business valuations."

Though most industries shared a fall in value -- food brands were up overall -- banking and automotive companies were clearly hit hardest.

Merrill Lynch (BAC), AIG (AIG), and ING (ING) all fell from the 2008 list and failed to rank this year -- a product of huge subprime losses. Failing to connect with its customer and forced to draw from a government bailout, General Motors and Chrysler didn't place in 2009. However, Ford (F) was surprisingly spared from the wrath of the scorned consumer and held fast on the list.

The top five spots remained unchanged from the 2008 list. Coca-Cola (KO), IBM (IBM), Microsoft (MSFT), General Electric (GE) and Nokia (NOK) were designated the world leaders once again for 2009, with Google (GOOG) making leaps and bounds toward the top.

As the economy continues to make adjustments, the popularity of brands worldwide shifts at consumers' discretion. Minyanville takes a gander at some of the notable entries in this year's Interbrand Best Global Brands List.

The World's Best Brands

Making its first appearance on Interbrand's list, Adobe sneaked onto the charts at #95. Skeptics claim its ranking was Photoshopped in.

Firmly planted at #1, Coca-Cola retained its brand recognition solely due to VH1's 1980s retrospectives constantly name-dropping New Coke.

Despite losing 11% in its brand value, Ford held steady at #49. Much like its dealer lots, things haven't been moving.

Heinz inched up the chart to #48 from #56. While some officials claim the progress is very slow, the company assures shareholders that it will soon tap the 57.

Harley-Davidson plummeted 23 spots from 2008 to #73. Experts blame the announcement of Wild Hogs 2.

Moving up three spots to #7, Google continues to climb Interbrand's charts after threatening to lower the consultancy's PageRank.

Popular online retailer rose 15 spots to #43. Kindle owners praise the company for allowing them to read Dan Brown novels undetected.
The recession and government bail-out hit Citigroup hard, dropping 49% in brand value -- which, coincidentally, is also the company's average APR.
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