Recession Takes Toll on Brand Values

James T. Berger headshot

James T. Berger
Senior Marketing Writer

Published April 1, 2009

If you want to see the winners and losers in the current economic downturn, look closely at the 2008 brand valuation numbers produced jointly by Interbrand and Business Week Magazine.

Companies suffering on the stock exchange are also taking a beating the calculated value of their brands.  Those in distressed industries that are holding their own in sales and profits are likewise holding their own in brand value.  New growth companies are picking up the slack and are moving into ever higher positions on the brand valuation scale.

Here are some examples:
Google continues its meteoric  rise moving from 20th place in 2007 to 10th place in 2008. Its brand valuation was up 43 percent.

Citicorp dropped from 11th to 19th place and lost 14 percent of its brand equity.

H&M, the Swedish-based retailer, came from off the charts to move into 22nd place with a brand valuation of $13.8 billion.

Apple with its innovative new products soared from 33rd place to 24th place with its brand equity increasing 24 percent to $13.7 billion.

Merrill Lynch, which narrowly averted  bankruptcy before being rescued by Bank of America before the listings were published, had already plummeted  21 percent from 22nd place to 34th place.  The fact that it still maintains such a high brand equity means the brand itself will provide marquis value to either Bank of America some other  surviving  financial services firm.

AIG before its disaster had already dropped 6 percent.

Decliners among financial services firms include: U.K.-based HSBC down 3 percent;  JP Morgan down 6 percent; Switzerland-based UBS down 11 percent, and  Morgan Stanley down 16 percent.

Ford is the only Big Three car maker on the Top 100 list.  It dropped 12 percent from 41st to 49th place.

Foreign car makers held their own:  Toyota stayed in 6th place and gained 6 percent; Mercedes dropped from 10th to 11th place but gained 9 percent in brand value; Honda went from 19th to 20th place but gained 6 percent in brand value; Volkswagen went from 54th place to 53rd place and gained 6 percent in brand value;  Audi, a Volkswagen brand, rose to 67th place from 68th place and gained 11 percent in rand value; Hyundai stayed in 72nd place but gained 9 percent in brand value; Lexus, a Toyota brand, moved up two clicks to 90th place and gained 7 percent in brand value.

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About The Author

James T. Berger headshot
James T. Berger, Senior Marketing Writer of The Wiglaf Journal, through his Northbrook-based firm, James T. Berger/Market Strategies, offers a broad range of marketing communications, research and strategic planning consulting services. In addition, he provides expert services to intellectual property attorneys in the area of trademark infringement litigation. An adjunct professor of marketing at Roosevelt University, he previously has taught at Northwestern University, DePaul University, University of Illinois at Chicago and The Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. He holds degrees from the University of Michigan (BA), Northwestern University (MS) and the University of Chicago (MBA). Berger is an often-published free lance business writer who has developed more than 100 published articles in the last eight years. For more information, visit or telephone him at (847) 328-9633.