The Top 100 corporate brands experienced a general decline in 2012 favorability scores, according to CoreBrand, a brand consultancy and creator of the Corporate Branding Index.
The company, which provides benchmarking data, insights and corporate brand valuation for more than 1,000 companies across 54 industries, on Wednesday released its Sixth Annual Top 100 BrandPower Rankings Report, which ranks 100 corporate brands in terms of market reputation and awareness.
Favorability scores measure overall reputation, perception of management and investment potential. The decline indicates that in the current economic climate, consumers are evaluating corporate brands more harshly, and these brand criticisms are being amplified with the proliferation of social media and the 24-hour news cycles, says James R. Gregory, founder and CEO of CoreBrand.
“Now more than ever, it is important that companies improve the quality of their messages to the marketplace and focus on rebuilding trust, according to the company,” he says.
The top 25 brands may actually be receiving a disproportionate share of the blame for the current economic conditions. In the wake of the financial crisis of 2008, the study found that the top 25 brands overall are recovering a bit more slowly than the lower 75 brands.
“These brand leaders will need to become more aggressive in their brand management and communications,” he says.
CoreBrand’s BrandPower Rankings are derived from an annual survey of more than 10,000 business decision-makers from the top 20 percent of U.S. businesses who represent the investment community, potential business partners, and business customers.
BrandPower is a measure of size (familiarity) and quality (favorability) -- familiarity representing whether or not a survey respondent is familiar with the brand and favorability representing the brand’s overall reputation, perception of management, and investment potential.
Technology companies are the biggest gainers. Since 2007, five of the top 10 BrandPower gainers have been technology companies, with Google and Yahoo topping the list. In this sector, Google has made the biggest leap in ranks in five years (+93). Other big industry movers include Yahoo (+51), Apple (+77), Dell (+56), and Samsung (+49).
The financial sector saw the biggest declines in BrandPower. Financial services companies saw some ups, but mostly downs. Since 2007, Charles Schwab and Morgan Stanley both fell by significant amounts, (-39) and (-26), respectively. JP Morgan Chase has also experienced a major decline (-21). These companies are almost certainly still paying the price for the weak economy. In the credit card industry, Visa edged slightly ahead of MasterCard in 2012, while American Express continued its slow and steady decline.
Companies in the CoreBrand Top 100 BrandPower Rankings represent 32 of the 54 industries that CoreBrand tracks. The food and retail industries were each represented by 11 companies in the CoreBrand BrandPower Top 100, and the consumer cyclical sector was represented by 35 companies. The complete BrandPower Top 100 Rankings Report can be viewed here.