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CoreBrand's 2008 Brand Power Rankings: Coca-Cola and Johnson & Johnson Maintain #1 and #2 Spots, Harley-Davidson Takes Third, Hershey Foods Into Fourth

Download the Brand Power 100: (March 18, 2009)

NEW YORK, NY -- (Marketwire) -- 03/18/09 -- Demonstrating the strength of their corporate brands, the top two spots on CoreBrand's 2008 Corporate Branding Index ( have remained unchanged since 2004, with The Coca-Cola Company, first, and Johnson & Johnson, second.

Harley-Davidson moved up one place to 3rd replacing Hershey Foods, which is now in 4th. Campbell Soup moved up one spot to 5th place replacing Hallmark, which is now 6th. UPS remained unchanged in 7th. Colgate-Palmolive moved up one spot to 8th, replacing FedEx which is now in 9th place.

"The current economic crisis is not a brand crisis. Corporate brands remain strong in the face of the downturn," said James Gregory, CEO, CoreBrand ( "However, some strong brands are being run over by the economy because brands are not stronger than the underlying financials of a corporation (e.g. GE has a relatively strong brand but has significant financial exposure so the brand is hurting)."

Kudos to Kellogg's!

Of the top ten, only Kellogg Company (10th place) has shown significant growth rising from 15th in 2007 and from 21st place in 2005.

In 12th place, and moving up quickly, is BMW, which held 16th place in 2007 and 28th in 2005. Other big winners in the Brand Power Rankings are Bayer, which moved into 17th place from 27th in 2007 and 45th in 2005. St. Jude Medical has moved up steadily to 28th in 2008 from 59th place in 2005, although it is unclear what is driving St. Jude's growing brand power.

Visa and MasterCard have both moved up steadily since 2005. Visa is now 23rd up from 36th in 2007 and 44th in 2005. MasterCard is 31st up from 44th in 2007 and 57th in 2005. "This is an interesting horserace as both companies gallop toward the top of the list," said CoreBrand's Gregory. Interestingly, American Express, which is never one to rest on its laurels, is in 11th place this year up from 13th in 2007 and 16th in 2005.

Toiletries and cosmetics companies continue to see improvements. Revlon has rallied steadily from 61st place in 2005 to 33rd in 2008. L'Oreal has progressed steadily from 89th place in 2005 to 52nd in 2008. Likewise, Estee Lauder has shown big gains moving up from 60th in 2005 to 34th in 2008.

Starbucks had a notable loss as it dropped from 10th place in 2007 to 14th place in 2008. This isn't a major surprise since its latest publicity has focused on store closings and competitive pressures.

PepsiCo has also been dropping at an alarming rate from 4th place in 2005 to 11th place in 2007 to 18th place in 2008. Let's hope its new corporate identity program will generate some fizz in its corporate brand.

General Electric is losing steam dropping from 12th place in 2005 to 17th place in 2007 to 24th place in 2008. It is clear that GE's significant Olympic campaign didn't help to bolster its corporate brand. This is proof that the brand cannot offset financial turmoil.

Other major losers are Procter & Gamble, which has dropped steadily from 31st place in 2005 to 39th place in 2008. General Motors has also dropped steadily from 30th place in 2005 to 41st place in 2008.

Apparel was a mixed bag. While Levi Strauss has dropped significantly and steadily from 20th place in 2005 to 38th place in 2007 to 49th place in 2008, Fruit of the Loom moved up from 83rd place in 2005 to 43rd in 2008. Tommy Hilfiger improved from 88th place in 2005 to 65th in 2008.

Microsoft was the headliner in last year's Brand Power Rankings. It should be noted that over the past year Microsoft has made a significant effort to bolster its corporate brand. One can argue that the campaign was poorly focused, but the end result is that Microsoft has checked the bleeding of its brand and has actually improved somewhat. In 2005 Microsoft ranked 26th place, dropped 28 spots to 59th place in 2007, and then in 2008 improved to 54th place. The challenge of reclaiming a corporate brand that is plummeting like a rock cannot be overstated.

Apple, which was mentioned last year in my Fox Business broadcast as the nemesis of Microsoft because of Apple's tremendously effective "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" campaign, continues to grow its corporate brand. Apple's corporate brand is now in 91st place; this is up from 119th place in 2007 and 128th in 2005.

"Last year there were many articles discussing how Apple should have been ranked as one of the top brands, but our Brand Power Ranking didn't place the technology giant in the top 100," said Gregory. "Everyone should be reminded that our study focuses on corporate brands, not product brands. While Apple brand zealots rate it with very high favorability, there are many more who don't feel as strongly about the Apple corporate brand. Nevertheless, Apple is doing very well indeed."


The Corporate Branding Index®, a quantitative research study among business decision makers in the USA, has been conducted continuously since 1990 with 1,200 companies across 49 industries. Over 12,000 surveys are completed annually. CoreBrand's Brand Power rankings are based upon the "familiarity" and "favorability" of these business decision makers toward the corporate reputation of these companies.

This report is not a consumer popularity poll but rather a study of how corporate brands influence the attitudes of business leaders to do business with each other, to attract investors, partners, B2B customers, and ultimately the impact they have on market capitalization.

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