Study: Microsoft knocks out competitors as strongest corporate brand

Microsoft has the strongest corporate brand in the world, followed by Intel and Google

WASHINGTON — Microsoft has the world's strongest corporate brand, followed by Intel and Google, according to a recent survey by the research group APCO Insight and the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business.

The survey was the basis of a list of the Top 100 Champion Brands, in which companies were measured on brand alignment, authenticity, attachment and advocacy.

Out of the 35,000 people surveyed across 14 global markets, 77 percent said corporations affect their lives more now than a decade ago, and 68 percent want to know how a company conducts its business as much as they want to know about its products.

Karen Buerkle, senior director at APCO Insight, said consumers today are "paying more attention to practices, not just products."

In addition to Microsoft, Intel and Google other top-rated brands are, in descending order, Nestle, Walt Disney, Apple, Philips, Honda, Sony and Adidas.

Buerkle said companies cracking the top 10 are all bound by "ideas around authenticity and advocacy," such as Walt Disney. Stakeholders know what Disney stands for, she said, because the company acts in a way that is consistent with its brand ethos.  

"Communicating a very strong sense of self and acting authentically allows you to form a strong emotional attachment," Buerkle said.

The technology industry, which claims five of the top 10 Champion Brand spots, is "transformative" because of how quickly it has connected with people by adding value to their lives, she said. If brands want to rank higher on the list in the future, they could take notes from companies in the tech sector on ways to effectively and meaningfully engage stakeholders.

Two industries performing poorly on the list were tobacco and finance. Visa, however, is an outlier, ranking higher than any other financial company on the list and coming in at 22 out of 100.

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