First, the good news: the top risers are Apple (now closely following eternal leader Coca-Cola), Samsung, Oracle and Amazon. There is a really good commentary from Jez Frampton, Chief Executive of Interbrand, where he emphasises the human and social importance of the brands in 2012:
“Today’s best brands are in touch with their own humanity and the humanity of others. They listen to consumers, employees, and investors alike and respond to the messages they receive. They want to know how people really feel about their company, they gather input and use it to drive innovation, and they realize that there is a lot to be learned from the wisdom of crowds. The challenge for brands is to respond quickly and with sincerity, or they risk compromising the relationship.”
With our clients, in various industry sectors, we noticed the same trend – connecting to people, rather than labels. Presumably, Apple rise to the second place has much to do with still riding on Steve Jobs legacy and personality – will be interesting to see how well they would do in the next couple of years. Amazon’s success can be attributed to Kindle Touch and Kindle Fire. Samsung’s rise through the ranks is due to the best-selling Galaxy S3 phone (and its starring role in the opening ceremony of London Olympics).
For the first time in 13 years Google manage to overtake Microsoft – obviously “doing no evil” as a brand statement works for them. There is a long-awaited newcomer – Facebook entered the index for the first time, at number 69.
This survey did not bring such good news to financial services firms. For the first time in years, UBS and Barclays are off the list. Still feeling the impact of 2008 global economic downturn, last year UBS managed to retain 94th place, and Barclays – 79th, – not in 2012 though. Credit Suisse declined to number 95 in the index. Some financial brands, however, managed to increase their brand value – American Express, Morgan Stanley, Visa (no doubt exclusive sponsorship deal with Olympics helped).
Rather shockingly, Armani group is off the list – despite almost 4 million followers on Facebook alone! Having a quick look at the brand presence on Facebook though – sadly, they suffer from a disparate offering (there are quite a few Armani-related groups), and the content is far from being engaging and exciting for the brand that size. Another contributing factor could be brand dilution by creating Armani Exchange in addition to Armani Jeans and the main Armani brand.
Years ago, Albert Einstein said: “It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.” Quite a few brands out there now almost fully automate their social media channels, or do not pay attention to how they connect to their brand and represent brand values – and that’s when technology exceeds brand’s humanity. As we said on this blog before – let’s put “social” back into social media. And a human being in charge of your brand.