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What Makes A Global Brand ‘Best?’

Global brand consultancy firm Interbrand publishes its hallmark Best Global Brands report every fall. The report, which is entering its 16th year, influences CEOs and other business leaders around the world, according to Elyse Burack, an Interbrand senior strategy consultant. “The report is very important to us,” Burack said. “It’s in our company’s DNA.”

Speaking at Yale SOM on February 24 in an event hosted by the Marketing Club, Burack and two Interbrand colleagues, talent acquisition partner Kara Freedman and strategy consultant Evan Gettinger, shared their thoughts on the consultant’s role and on the qualities that propel brands to the top. “We see brand as a sort of fabric; it’s a living and breathing asset,” said Gettinger.

The most successful brands combine certain characteristics, Gettinger said, including driving consumer choice, commanding a premium price for products, and engendering lasting customer loyalty. In 2014, the following brands topped the 100 Best Global Brands list: Apple, Google, Coca-Cola, IBM, Microsoft, GE, Samsung, Toyota, McDonald’s, and Mercedes-Benz.

How do brands earn a spot in the ranking? Interbrand takes into consideration three key components when determining a brand’s value:

  • Financial performance, which is no surprise. This measures the overall financial return to an organization’s investors, or its “economic profit.”
  • Role of Brand, which measures the portion of the purchase decision that is attributable to the brand.
  • Brand Strength, which measures the ability of the brand to create loyalty and, therefore, drive demand and profit over time. Interbrand examines 10 internal and external factors when conducting a Brand Strength analysis.

“All of these components are intertwined in the process of determining brand value,” Freedman said.  “As a result, the ranking is always fluctuating.”