Interbrand CEO: Insights on Coca-Cola Topping Best Global Brands 2012 Rankings

Coca-Cola may be 126 years old, but with more than 50 million fans on Facebook, 1.8 billion Coke products consumed daily and 3,500 beverages in its diverse portfolio—The Coca-Cola Company remains a global force to be reckoned with. Bearing potent testimony to that fact, Coca-Cola has earned the number one spot—for the 13th year in a row—in our Best Global Brands 2012 report. Truly, an incredible track record and a level of achievement few companies could sustain. But that’s what makes Coca-Cola so special.

Every year at Interbrand, we assess the challenges and survey the accomplishments of the world’s most valuable brands and carefully rank the top 100. Year after year, we have quantified and confirmed the enormous measurable value of Coca-Cola’s brand, but it is also self-evident. Wherever one goes in the world, Coca-Cola is there. Its name is more universally recognized than any other across the globe. But what’s the secret to Coca-Cola’s magic? How has it captured our hearts, imaginations (and taste buds) for over a century, across every class and geographical boundary? We believe a well-managed brand is at the center of it all.

Great brands are “business strategy brought to life,” delivering a seamless experience across product and service, physical spaces and places, internal culture and communications. Few do this better than Coke. A brand that’s always evolving, Coke’s brand promise of fun, freedom, and refreshment resonates nearly everywhere. The company excels at keeping the brand fresh while maintaining a powerful sense of nostalgia that unites generations of Coke lovers and reinforces consumers’ deep connections to the brand. Its edgy campaigns continue to push boundaries, its global presence increases by the year, and Coca-Cola reinforces its values by linking entertainment, brand and positive messaging in the minds of millions, if not billions.

Animating its brand during the London Olympics through its vibrant “Move to the beat” campaign, Coca-Cola certainly made the most of their sponsorship opportunities at the Games. The brand sold millions of beverages on the Olympic grounds in London this year, but Coca-Cola’s real returns came in the form of global viewership. According to a survey released in July by Research Now, Coca-Cola scored over 90% in brand awareness among respondents from the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany and Australia. Through its consistent presence at the Games, Coke, a sponsor since 1928, continues to build its brand strength, reach and impact every time the Olympic torch is lit. Associated strongly with an event that celebrates the human spirit like no other, Coca-Cola shows us, at the Olympics and at every other point of contact, that it knows how to touch people.

Despite its size, Coca-Cola has proven to be nimble, innovative and consistently relevant, adapting to local markets and new eras without diminishing its legacy. Committed to finding fresh ways of thinking and new pathways to growth and value creation, the brand continues to embrace digital and is expanding its impressive online presence by the day. With an admirable focus on sustainability as well as corporate citizenship, Coca-Cola gained accolades for its advanced water recovery system this year, worked to deliver clean water to those in need, expanded its PlantBottle™ package to more markets, and received high ratings for employee diversity and sound workplace policies for LGBT associates. Ever seeking to stay relevant and make a lasting impact, Coca-Cola has also partnered with musical artist and producer to launch the EKOCYCLE brand, an initiative that encourages sustainable consumer behavior through lifestyle products made from recycled material.

With so much to praise, it’s no surprise Coke is still number one. In a fast-moving, hyper-competitive world, brands like Coca-Cola are succeeding because they emphasize a culture of innovation, understand how to leverage the power of their brand and operate with sophistication, creativity, understanding, accountability and transparency. Soaring profits are a given, as Coke saw once again this year, when you’re making the most of your brand, thinking strategically and giving back to the world we all share.

We at Interbrand extend a warm congratulations to all the people who have helped make Coca-Cola the most valuable brand in the world—and an exemplary corporate citizen. May others aspire to be as great.

Here’s to many more years of “sharing happiness”!

Jez Frampton is the Global CEO of Interbrand.

Editor’s Note: Video comments by Jez Frampton were provided to Coca-Cola in December 2011 for the Company’s opening of the Vault of the Secret Formula exhibit.