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Blog: New Branding King And What It Means To Electrical Distributors

By now you might have heard the story:  After a 13 year run at the top, Apple has replaced Coca-Cola for the title of Best Global Brand, according to Interbrand.

First, a little about Interbrand, so you don’t think this is one of those random studies that has no backbone.  Interbrand is a company that started in 1974, saying at that time “the world still thought of brands as just another word for logo.”  It is the largest brand consultant firm in the world, with more than 40 offices in  26 countries. But it adds it’s not interested in simply being the world’s biggest brand consultant firm. It wants to be the most valued.  A pretty bold brand statement on its own.

But the real question that has value to NAED and to distributors is how did Apple pass Coca-Cola for the top spot after trying for 13 years.  And by the way, Coca-Cola actually dropped to third on the list, behind Google.  Did Apple and Google both do something incredibly right?  Did Coca-Cola do something wrong? The answer should help you live your brand while you run your distributorship.

Obviously, Apple did something right.  Interbrand says of Apple, “With the customer at the nexus of everything it does, Apple continues to respond to emerging needs, improve its products, and break new ground in design and performance.”  Read those first 10 words again.  With the customer at the nexus of everything it does.  Interbrand then adds that Apple lives up to that promise with its “Think Different” campaign.  It means while you are enjoying your new iPhone 5c/5s or the iOS 7, speculation is it is already working on the iWatch or a better version of the Mac Pro.  So while you are enjoying their products, Apple is living its brand, and building that brand for the future.

Keep in mind, Apple is starting to face some strong competition from Google/Android, and Samsung is now the world’s most profitable smartphone maker.  But every day, Apple lives its brand to “Think Different’’, and that will have people lined up out the door this coming holiday season to buy its products. 

Google moved up from number four on the list last year to number 2 this year.  This is significant to NAED distributors because while we once thought of Google as nothing more than an Internet search engine site, it is now a key player in e-commerce, having entered our industry with Google Shopping for Suppliers.  Here is a key statement from Interbrand on Google. “The company is constantly assessing its products, phasing out services and offerings that are no longer relevant or are simply unprofitable, and introducing new ones. This responsive behavior suggests that Google pays attention to what consumers like and don’t like—a big reason why overall sentiment for the brand is positive.”  This reminds us of what Google Shopping for Suppliers is doing.  Google will see how the site is received, and if users believe it is better than what distributors have to offer, and it will turn a profit, the site will remain. A recent NAED/NAW study showed 98% of contractors shop for their products online, so Google is continuing to build on its online strengths.

Then there is Coca-Cola.  The king of branding for the past 13 years now sits in the number 3 spot.  But if you read what Interbrand has to say about Coca-Cola, you realize it didn’t do anything wrong.  The company gives high praise for Coke’s “Open Happiness” and “Share a Coke” messages.  Coca-Cola was also named the Creating Marketer of the Year at the 2013 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.  But what it didn’t do was live that brand better than Apple and Google.  It created the right messages, bit it didn’t deliver on those messages the way the top two were able to deliver.  The lesson here is you can have a great brand, but delivering on it every day is essential, otherwise someone else will is ready to move ahead of you.

If you would like to see the entire Interbrand top 100 brands, you can find it at http://interbrand.com/en/best-global-brands/2013/Best-Global-Brands-2013.aspx

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