Coke still world's most valuable brand despite decline

LONDON - Coca-Cola, Microsoft and IBM remain the top three global brands by dollar value, according to Interbrand's latest study of the world's largest firms.

Despite suffering a dip in value, Coca-Cola remains retains the top slot in this year's Interbrand 100 Top Global Brands study with a brand value of $67.3bn (£36.4bn), down from $70.4bn last year. Microsoft is also down but retains second slot with a brand value of $61.3bn and IBM remains third with a brand value of $53.7bn, representing an increase of 4% on last year.

The first British-owned brand, HSBC, does not appear on the list until number 33, and the next most valuable British brand, Reuters, does not appear until the 70s.

This year's study is good news for Apple, which due to strong sales of the iPod and high brand loyalty has gained 24% in value since last year and is now ranked 43rd. Other big gainers include: Yahoo!, up 17%; Amazon, which is up 22%; Samsung, up 16%; and HSBC, up 15%.

According to an Interbrand statement: "This year's rankings rewarded companies that build communities around their products and services creating cult brands that enable customers to feel as if they own the brand."

Other firms to retain top 10 placings are Intel, Disney, Nokia and Marlboro, with Toyota moving from 11th to 9th place following a 9% leap in brand value, beating its US rival Ford, which is 19th, having fallen from 14th.

A year of negative publicity surrounding obesity and health issues has hit the fast food industry badly, with Burger King tumbling out of the Top 100 and Pizza Hut and KFC each recording losses in brand value. McDonald's, however, has bucked this trend, gaining slightly on last year's figures with a 1% increase in brand value and only moving from 7th to 8th place.

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