Davis Names Top 25
Brand Leaders in 2012

Davis Brand Capital today released the 2012 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking, which evaluates brand management and performance comprehensively. It is the only annual ranking of companies that demonstrate overall, balanced approaches to managing the full spectrum of brand and related intangible assets, providing an indicator of total business strength and effectiveness.

The annual Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking evaluates companies’ abilities to manage the five key areas comprising brand today: brand value; competitive performance; innovation strength; company culture; and social impact. The ranking does not aim to place a financial value on the brand capital of the companies. Rather, the list reveals the comparative strength and breadth of each company’s total brand management.

Ranked companies that are publicly traded on U.S. stock exchanges outperformed the Dow Jones Industrial Average by approximately 7 percent. A hypothetical stock portfolio consisting of equally distributed holdings of these companies returned 14.61 percent during the 2012 calendar year. The ranked companies also beat the S&P 500. In a list dominated by technology leaders, the Davis Brand Capital 25 closely tracked NASDAQ performance, as expected.

“Incredibly smart management of intangible assets during the recession is paying off now,” said Patrick T. Davis, chief executive officer of Davis Brand Capital, based in Atlanta. “Those companies that understood how to drive brand value, deliver performance, create new ideas, attract and retain talent, and benefit their communities during tough times are making this ‘best of the best’ list for clear reasons,” said Davis. According to the Federal Reserve, U.S. companies alone invest more than $1 trillion in intangible assets each year.

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) tops the list for the second consecutive year, after ranking #7 in 2010 and #12 in 2009. As arch rival Samsung (KOSPI: 005930), which moved up four spots to #19, continues to gain share in the smartphone category and other competitors build momentum in the tablet space, Apple faces new pressure. Its innovation strength fell in 2012, and it remains to be seen whether Apple can continue its legacy of value-creating disruptions under CEO Timothy
Cook’s leadership.

After holding the top spot in 2009 and 2010, IBM (NYSE: IBM) ranks #2 for the second consecutive year. Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) continued its upward trajectory, moving up one spot to #3 after a meteoric rise from #13 in 2010. Rounding out the top five, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) moved down one spot to #4, and Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG) advanced two positions, breaking into the top tier at #5.

For the first year since the ranking began, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) fell from the top-five group to #7, reflecting the company’s ongoing challenges. After ranking #3 in 2009 and #2 in 2010, the company was plagued by high-profile controversies surrounding CEO Mark Hurd’s departure, its board, business strategies and an ill-fated acquisition of Autonomy, which have been tremendous headwinds for its financial performance.

Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO), widely regarded as among the world’s most valuable brands, continues its steady climb up the rankings due to increasing strength in other areas beyond brand value. It lands at #6 in 2012, moving up from #16 in 2009, #14 in 2010 and #9 in 2011. Arch rival PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP), which narrowed Coca-Cola’s lead in 2011 with its #12 ranking, suffered the biggest decline of any company on the 2012 list, dropping 13 spots to #25. The company’s primary areas of weakness were its brand value, innovation strength and social impact, signaling the disappointment of its once-celebrated “Refresh” project.

AT&T was the biggest gainer in the 2012 ranking, moving up eight spots to #14. The company ranked #13 in 2009, and it dropped from the list in 2010 to reemerge at #22 in 2011. AT&T’s biggest area of strength influencing upward movement is performance in the social impact category. The company continues to gain major points for its high-profile social agenda marketing campaign against texting behind the wheel (“It Can Wait”).

Automakers again are well represented on the 2012 rankings. Toyota Motor Corporation (NYSE: TM) continued to regain ground, moving up seven spots to #13. Despite having a strong showing in 2009 at #8, Toyota dropped from the rankings entirely in 2010 after a series of high-profile recalls, and reappeared at #20 in 2011. BMW (BMW-DE) moves up three positions to #8 in 2012 after debuting at #12 in 2010. Daimler (DAI-DE) retains #15 where it debuted in 2011. And Volkswagen (VOW-DE) again moved down in 2012 from #21 to #23. It ranked #17 in 2010, the first year it appeared on the list.

After improving its ranking from #10 in 2009 to #5 in 2010, discount retailer Walmart (NYSE: WMT) dropped the most of any other brand in 2011 both in terms of its two-year and year- over-year performance. For 2012, Walmart regained ground, moving up seven positions to land at #17.

J.P. Morgan (NYSE: JPM) and HSBC (NYSE: HBC) reappear on the 2012 ranking at #12 and #16, respectively. After debuting on the list at #16 in 2011, Citi (NYSE: C) dropped eight spots. Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) moved up four positions to #21, following its first appearance at #25 in 2011.

There are several newcomers to the 2012 rankings. LVHM (MC: FP) — with a portfolio including iconic luxury brands such as Moët & Chandon, Dom Pérignon and Louis Vuitton — took the #18 spot. Professional services powerhouse PwC landed at #22.  Tencent (HKSE: 0700.HK), the Chinese media, entertainment and mobile holding company, tied with Citi at #24.

Many major consumer and packaged goods brands are notably absent from the list. “As strong as CPG brands must be, many of them have really become stuck in dated approaches to brand management that does not go beyond product marketing,” said Davis. “Procter & Gamble, a true stand out, has done a remarkable job of advancing its strategies and also bringing the holding company brand to the forefront in appropriate ways.”

The 2012 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking is based on a study of 10 distinct data sets. It is a compilation and analysis of annual performance rankings published in industry-leading and specialized annual lists, plus Davis Brand Capital’s proprietary processes and analysis. Each of the five key areas of brand is given equal importance to achieve an integrated, balanced evaluation.

Prior to the Davis Brand Capital 25, annual brand performance rankings were not evaluated and aggregated to reveal the comparative strength of companies’ brand management. “It is essential for senior executives to understand that management of brand and other intangibles reflects broader success,” said Davis.

The ranking will be updated yearly, with the 2013 Davis Brand Capital 25 released early in 2014.

2012 Davis Brand Capital 25

1. Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL)
3. Google (NASDAQ: GOOG)
4. Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT)
5. Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG)
6. Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO)
7. Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ)
8. BMW (BMW: GR)
9. General Electric (NYSE: GE)
10. Intel (NASDAQ: INTC)
11. Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM)
12. J.P. Morgan (NYSE: JPM)
13. Toyota (NYSE: TM)
14. AT&T (NYSE: T)
15. Daimler (DAI: GR)
17. Walmart Stores (NYSE: WMT)
18. LVHM (MC: FP)
19. Samsung (KOSPI: 005930)
20. Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ)
21. Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC)
22. PricewaterhouseCoopers
23. The Volkswagen Group (VOW: DR)
24. Citi – Tie (NYSE: C)
24. Tencent – Tie (HKSE: 0700.HK)
25. Pepsi (NYSE: PEP)

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