Davis Names Top 25
Brand Leaders in 2013

Top-performing Brand Managers Beat Both Dow and S&P 500 in 2013
Apple Again Takes #1 Spot; Coca-Cola Earns Spot in Top 5
Samsung and Amazon Soar


Davis Brand Capital today released the 2013 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking, which evaluates brand management and performance comprehensively. It is the only annual ranking of companies that demonstrates 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 ranking, based on an in-depth analysis of more than 1,100 global brands, evaluates companies’ abilities to manage the five key areas driving brands 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.

For three consecutive years, the Davis Brand Capital 25 rankings have outperformed the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Standard & Poor’s 500 indexes. In 2013, a hypothetical stock portfolio consisting of Davis Brand Capital 25 companies traded on U.S. stock exchanges, weighted by rank, would have returned 33.8 percent — outperforming the Dow by 7 percent and the S&P 500 by 4 percent. With technology companies representing five of the top six companies on the list, the Davis Brand Capital 25 continued to closely track NASDAQ performance, as expected.

“With the ranking in its fifth year now, we are seeing a clear pattern emerge of the companies that really are the best of the best in brand management,” said Patrick T. Davis, chief executive officer of Davis Brand Capital, based in Atlanta. “Our ranked companies know better than most how to increase brand value, drive performance, bring new ideas to market, attract and retain top talent, and benefit their communities,” said Davis. According to a Federal Reserve study, U.S. companies invest more than $1 trillion in these types of intangibles each year.

Apple (AAPL) tops the list for the third consecutive year. Rounding out the top five are: Google (GOOG); IBM (IBM); Microsoft (MSFT); and Coca-Cola (KO). This is the first year Coca-Cola, regarded by many as the world’s most valuable brand, has broken into the top five, proving its brand leadership in additional areas.

Samsung (KOSPI: 005930) was the biggest gainer on this year’s list, moving up ten spots to #9. Its steady hold of approximately one-third of the smartphone market was earned with the development and launch of the Galaxy S4, the first credible rival to the iPhone. While Apple has maintained its place at the top of the list, the company continued to lose smartphone market share to Samsung in 2013.

Technology leaders continue to dominate the top half of the list, with the same four companies holding the top four spots as in the past three years. This pattern points to the deep understanding these technology leaders have of fostering and managing key brand drivers like innovation and company culture, effectively setting the pace for change.

IBM has shown a slight decline on the ranking during the past five years. Big Blue captured the #1 spot on the first two lists, but has dropped slightly to #3 since then. Microsoft has held on to its #4 rank, but with anticipated changes to leadership and a noticeable brand shift to the more human side of technology, it will be a company to watch closely in 2014.

In the beverage category, the cola wars are over, based on this year’s ranking. Coca-Cola (KO) moved up to the #5 spot, while Pepsi (PEP), fell off the list completely. This is a testament to Coca-Cola’s best-in-class brand and portfolio management, especially considering current health concerns about sugary drinks. The company’s proactive management of the growing social and health concern helped it gain in the 2013 ranking.

In another notable move, Amazon (AMZN) returned to the list at the #6 spot after ranking #17 in 2009. The brand’s continued commitment to customer service and innovation outweighed its razor-thin margins, showing the true value of intangible assets in a purely transactional space.

In the automotive category, the Germans are back in the driver’s seat, and the Americans are gaining ground. Daimler (DAI: GR) moved up five spots from 2012 to the #10 rank in 2013, overtaking BMW (BMW: GR) as the top-ranked carmaker. Volkswagen (VOW: GR) maintained its rank of #23, while Ford Motor Company (F) ranked #19 on the list. Noted for its strides in innovation, Ford leads the category in its focus on the car as an integrated, consumer experience, well-aligned with current attitudes in the millennial generation. Toyota Motor Corporation (TM) remains the only Japanese carmaker represented on the list, moving down three spots to #16.

AT&T (T) leads the mobile carrier category, moving up four spots this year to #11. AT&T has advanced 11 spots in the past two years and has been the only mobile carrier represented on our list for the past three years. Archrival Verizon has been left behind.

Four banks appear on this year’s list, and perhaps unsurprisingly, their financial performance and brand strength determine their rankings relative to one another. J.P. Morgan (JPM) leads the way at #14 followed by HSBC (HBC) at #18. Citi (C), the only bank to move up in the rankings from 2012, moves up two spots to #22. Wells Fargo (WFC) rounds out the banks on the list, moving down four positions to #25, back to where it debuted on the list in 2011.

Many major consumer and packaged goods brands are notably absent from the list. “As strong as CPG brands must be, many of them are stuck in dated approaches to brand management that does not go beyond product marketing and traditional advertising. It is no longer enough to win,” said Davis. “Procter & Gamble (PG) separates from the pack at #8 on the ranking for its leadership in intra-portfolio brand management and highlighting the holding company’s role in providing unique combinations of benefits to consumers.”

The 2013 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking is based on a study of 10 distinct data sets. It is a compilation and analysis of the most respected 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’ overall 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 2014 Davis Brand Capital 25 released early in 2015.

2013 Davis Brand Capital 25

  1.  Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL)
  2.  Google (NASDAQ: GOOG)
  3.  IBM (NYSE: IBM)
  4.  Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT)
  5.  Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO)
  6.  Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN)
  7.  General Electric (NYSE: GE)
  8.  Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG)
  9.  Samsung (KOSPI: 005930)
  10.  Daimler (DAI: GR)
  11.  AT&T (NYSE: T)
  12.  BMW (BMW: GR)
  13.  Intel (NASDAQ: INTC)
  14.  J.P. Morgan (NYSE: JPM)
  15.  Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM)
  16.  Toyota (NYSE: TM)
  17.  Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ)
  18.  HSBC (NYSE: HSBC)
  19.  Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F)
  20.  LVHM (MC: FP)
  21.  Walmart Stores (NYSE: WMT)
  22.  Citi (NYSE: C)
  23.  The Volkswagen Group (VOW: GR)
  24.  Nestle S.A. (VTX: NESN.VX)
  25.  Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC)

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