The Six Attributes of Leading Global Brands

Interbrand recently released its annual ranking of the top brands in the world; 2013’s list includes such big names as Apple, Google, IBM and Microsoft. These big-name brands are brought together by more than just high profit margins and visibility. Instead, the leaders exhibit a number of attributes that contribute to their success, ranging from their use to social media to being good citizens. Here are six ways they succeed:

  1. Using social media. It should hardly need to be said by now that social media is an integral part of a successful brand’s marketing campaign, yet it does bear repeating. Top brands leverage social media to their advantage. Instead of making noise, the most effective brands create a strong presence that adds value to their audience’s user experience.
  1. Embracing cultural and ethical responsibilities. It’s not enough for the modern brand to merely provide a great product. The most successful brands create and promote cultural shifts and rise up to ethical responsibilities. What that means for you can vary heavily based on your business and your target market. The best companies present values that are specific, meaningful and closely related to their area of business.
  2. Embracing change. From organizational changes to changes in the way customers respond to marketing to changes in market demands, the world’s top brands stay on top by embracing chance when it comes, and initiating change when it’s necessary. For example, McDonald’s has continually reinvented the way it presents itself over the years in response to changing trends and demands.
  3. Investing. Business prospects are frequently uncertain, especially in today’s economic climate. But the world’s most successful brands don’t take uncertainty as a signal to slash costs – they take it as an opportunity to invest and add value, taking risks on new ideas. When times are tight, it’s easy to confuse investments with costs, which can be a harmful mistake.
  4. Setting the bar instead of rising to the occasion. The best brands in the world don’t simply rise to meet the standards that other companies have set. Instead, they set the bar higher – take Apple, for instance, establishing a standard of innovation and usability that other brands now strive to match.
  5. Reorganizing. The modern business world, and especially the modern marketing world, is quite different than it was 20 or even 10 years ago. As a result, top companies are changing not just the way they reach customers; they change from the top down, creating slimmer leadership models and defining new leadership roles.

The extent to which companies are able to embrace these attributes of the top brands is often a major contributor to how well they are able to stand out from the competition.  Of course, adopting the attributes of the top brands must be matched by business sense, market conditions, and a good deal of luck to make it to the top.

This post was originally published on the One Smooth Stone blog on February 18, 2014. For a complimentary 30-minute consultation on how to build your brand and inspire an audience through events and communications, please contact Brian Duffy by calling 630.427.4235 or by emailing


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s