Millward Brown‘s 2011 BrandZ study of the most valuable global brands is out. From a trademark perspective, there are several common themes among the leaders:
– Distinctive names and much more prevalent than descriptive names. The only name that is “descriptive” in the top 10 is “China Mobile”. A great majority of them are made up terms or completely arbitrary, like Verizon, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, and Walmart.
– Great logos. Many of the names are accompanied by very distinctive, memorable logos.
– Intellectual property. At least 1/2 of the businesses are built on intellectual property, whether they be software code, search algorithms, industrial patents, etc. See: Apple, Google, IBM, Microsoft, GE, Amazon, and others.
– Cross-platform brands. Many of these brands do or sell a lot of different – but related – things. [Apple: phone, computer, software. Verizon: phone, cable, cellphone. UPS: shipping, logistics.] And their brands and logos reflect this flexibility by being absent of descriptive or limiting wording.
– Starbucks is missing from the list. But I think one day it may be among the brand leaders. And their change in logo earlier this year to allow it to become more of a “cross-platform” provider (see bullet point above) is to allow Starbucks the brand to become about more than coffee. [See my earlier blog post about the logo change here.]
You can see the full BrandZ report here.