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国内看不到的文章[中英文对照]

(2007-05-08 22:58:50)
 

FT最新全球品牌排名出炉

 

全球15大品牌

 

(以价值计)

品牌排名

1 谷歌

2 GE(通用电气)

3 微软

4 可口可乐(*)

5 中国移动(China Mobile)

6 万宝路(Marlboro)

7 沃尔玛

8 花旗

9 IBM

10 丰田

11 麦当劳

12 诺基亚

13 美国银行(Bank of America)

14 宝马

15 惠普(HP)

 

 
作者:英国《金融时报》约翰"加普(John Gapper)
2007年5月8日 星期二
 

 

    公司品牌如同人的声誉,具有极高的价值。不过,品牌也是无形的,企业总是面对这样一种诱惑:为追求短期收益,去做一些损害品牌长期价值的事情。

许多公司在这种诱惑面前做出了让步,它们降低产品质量,或是不明智地拓展品牌,结果要花费数年时间才能弥补造成的损失。对于那些成功抵御这种诱惑的公司来说,这为它们创造了机会,发展对消费者和股东均具有巨大价值的品牌。

这方面一个杰出范例是谷歌(Google)——在今年英国《金融时报》与Millward Brown Optimor联手推出的全球品牌年度排行榜中,谷歌荣膺榜首。google.com只是其创始人赛吉"布林(Sergey Brin)和拉里"佩奇(Larry Page)在1997年9月才注册的互联网域名。然而,在不到10年的时间里,这个怪异的名字就超越了可口可乐(Coca-Cola)、麦当劳(McDonald's)和宝马(BMW)等品牌。而在此前10年运用类似手法获得成功的软件公司微软(Microsoft),也被谷歌抛在了后面。

?/P>


战略失误导致品牌受损的例子比比皆是。牛仔裤制造商Levi Strauss由于将高端品牌的地位让给了后起之秀,因此不再跻身全球百强品牌之列。星巴克(Starbucks)的品牌价值仍在增长(在全球品牌排行榜上跃升13位),但其董事长霍华德"舒尔茨(Howard Schultz)担忧,该公司可能正在失去其独特的品质。

好消息是,在造成无法挽回的损失之前,知名品牌能够经受诸多惩罚。经历数年的低迷之后,零售商玛莎百货(Marks and Spencer)重新成为关注的焦点,该公司在英国品牌排行榜上的排名上升6位,目前位居第4。私人股本集团总是在物色一些失去光芒的品牌,以期使它们恢复活力,例如,Apax就在尝试重振汤米"希尔菲杰公司(Tommy Hilfiger)。

本年度的全球杰出榜样是苹果公司(Apple)。自其联合创始人史蒂夫"乔布斯(Steve Jobs)离去后,该公司便失去了重心,但随着他的归来,苹果又重获优势。苹果超越了计算机领域的范畴,向音频及视频产品扩张,推动其品牌排名上升13位,跻身全球前20强之列,其品牌价值跃升55%。

勿庸置疑,如今品牌的重要性超过以往任何时候。随着发达经济体从制造业转向服务业,从有形产品转向无形产品,品牌在财务价值中所占比例不断上升。财富(Fortune)500强企业的无形资产与股东价值之比稳步上升,从1980年的50%左右,上升至目前的70%。

“做好品牌文章”

如今,更多公司主要是由专利和品牌附加值等无形资产构成。Millward Brown Optimor执行副总裁乔安娜"塞登(Joanna Seddon)表示:“在一个更为扁平的世界里,创新优势不会持续很久,能让公司避开竞争的东西也越来越少。在其它条件趋同之际,企业只有在品牌上做文章。”

贸易门槛不断降低,资本流动更为自由,加之科技进步和全球化趋势,使品牌走出国门更为容易,谷歌便是例证。全球手机用户目前都希望购买诺基亚(Nokia)、三星(Samsung)、摩托罗拉(Motorola)或其它全球品牌制造的手机,而本土制造商难以与这些品牌的主导优势抗衡。

在将本土品牌推向国外、并打造为全球渴望的象征物方面,奢侈品公司做得尤其成功。路易"威登(Louis Vuitton)的排名上升4位,在全球品牌排行榜中位列第20名,它为其母公司路威酩轩(LVMH)做出的品牌贡献最大,而该集团旗下轩尼诗(Hennessy)、酩悦香槟(Mo?t & Chandon)和芬迪(Fendi)等其它品牌的贡献也排在前十位。

对品牌来说,这并不意味着万事大吉。零售商与宝洁(P&G)、联合利华(Unilever)等消费产品公司竞争,夺取消费者的忠诚。它们做得非常成功。沃尔玛(Wal-Mart)滑落到排名榜的第7位,但仍保持着极高的顾客忠诚度。而更为时尚的竞争对手——塔吉特(Target),通过把自己定位为具有时尚意识的折扣店,排名上升了25位。

在允许品牌制造商的产品摆上自己货架的问题上,此类商店进行了非常激烈的讨价还价。就连宝洁都觉得有必要通过收购吉列(Gillette)来增强实力,以对付那些利用购买力打压品牌商品的零售商。

品牌面临的第二个挑战,来自于医药等行业的仿制商品制造商。尽管在研发上投入了数十亿美元的资金,药企还是觉得有必要通过营销来对抗仿制药(以及其它公司最强大的品牌)在各个临床领域的竞争。就连止痛药这样的非专利非处方药(OTC),都仔细地贴上了品牌。

最后一个挑战是,无形资产(甚至有形产品)很容易被仿制。西方汽车制造商很难避免自己的汽车和卡车被精细地仿制。而软件集团和娱乐公司要阻止音乐和电影被人用数字方式解码、从而在互联网以及CD和DVD上复制,更是难上加难。

尽管存在所有这些不利因素,面对竞争者,打造了强大品牌的公司仍拥有很大优势。谷歌一心要成为顶级搜索和信息服务商(它为此付出了不在主页打广告的代价),这种决心使它得以超越雅虎(Yahoo)。

塞登提出,强大的品牌不仅能让公司提高收入和利润空间,也能让它们更好地配置资产,获得附带优势。她指出:“如果你是高盛(Goldman Sachs)或微软,你就能雇到最好的商学院毕业生,而且他们留在你那里工作的时间也更长。丰田(Toyota)在债券市场上拥有借款优势,如果不联系到它的品牌,就很难解释这种现象。”

要为自己的品牌增光,公司需要下定决心。谷歌的创始人强调,他们不会在意实现近期利润目标的压力。排名前十位的品牌大多具有鲜明的特点、独特的文化和运营手法,很难说这只是一种巧合。

即使是花旗集团(Citigroup)和通用电气(GE)这样的大型美国公司,在承受公司股东苛刻关注的情况下,仍然努力提升自己的品牌价值(花旗的品牌是“Citi”)。这肯定令这两家公司的负责人——查克"普林斯(Chuck Prince)和杰弗里"伊梅尔特(Jeffrey Immelt)感到安心。尽管华尔街持怀疑态度,他们的品牌仍在不断成长。

就长期股东价值而言,这可是个好消息。因为公司长期价值是与品牌共同增长的——就连通用电气这样的大型工业集团也是如此,所以,品牌是经理人最应该关心的资产。投资者或许等不及品牌对企业盈利做出贡献,但关怀好了品牌,假以时日,品牌终究是会回报股东的。

全球15大品牌

(以价值计)

品牌排名

1 谷歌

2 GE(通用电气)

3 微软

4 可口可乐(*)

5 中国移动(China Mobile)

6 万宝路(Marlboro)

7 沃尔玛

8 花旗

9 IBM

10 丰田

11 麦当劳

12 诺基亚

13 美国银行(Bank of America)

14 宝马

15 惠普(HP)

COMPANIES FEEL BENEFIT OF INTANGIBLES
By John Gapper
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
 
 

A

corporate brand, like a human reputation, is something of immense value. Yet it is also intangible and there is always a temptation to do something for short-term gain that can damage it in the long term

Many companies have given in to this temptation by reducing the quality of their products or stretching their brands unwisely, only to spend years attempting to repair the damage. This gives those who manage to resist it the chance to develop brands of huge value both to customers and shareholders.

An outstanding example is the company that this year tops the annual ranking of the world's brands by the Financial Times and Millward Brown Optimor: Google. The internet domain name google.com was only registered by Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the founders, in September 1997. Yet, less than a decade later, that quirky name outstrips brands such as Coca-Cola, McDonald's and BMW.

?/P>


It has toppled Microsoft, the software company that pulled off a similar trick over the previous decade.

There have been many examples of brands being damaged by strategic errors. Levi Strauss, the jeans company, no longer figures in the global top 100 after losing its place as a premium brand to upstarts. Starbucks is still rising in value – jumping 13 places in the global league table – but Howard Schultz, its chairman, worries that it might be losing its unique quality.

The good news is that well-established brands can take a lot of punishment before they are irretrievably damaged. The retailer Marks and Spencer has been refocused after several years of drift, and rises six places to number four in the UK ranking. Private equity groups are always looking for tarnished brands to restore to health, as Apax is attempting with Tommy Hilfiger.

This year's outstanding global example is Apple, which lost its focus after the departure of Steve Jobs, its co-founder, but regained its edge with his return. Apple's expansion out of computers into audio and visual products has propelled it up 13 places into the top 20 global brands, with a 55 per cent jump in its brand value.

Indisputably, brand matters more than ever. As developed economies switch from manufacturing to services and tangible to intangible products, brands make up a growing proportion of financial value. The proportion of intangible assets to shareholder value at Fortune 500 companies has steadily risen, from about 50 per cent in 1980 to 70 per cent today.

More companies now consist essentially of intangible assets such as patents plus the value embedded in their brands. “In a flatter world, the advantages of innovation do not last as long and there are fewer things sheltering companies from competition. As other things become equal, they are left with brands,” says Joanna Seddon, executive vice-president of Millward Brown Optimor.

The lowering of barriers to trade and freer capital flows, along with technology and globalisation, makes it easier for brands to cross borders, as Google demonstrates. Buyers of mobile phones around the world now expect handsets made by Nokia, Samsung, Motorola or other global brands, and local makers struggle to compete with their dominance.

Luxury goods companies have been particularly successful in spreading national brands across borders and transforming them into global symbols of aspiration. Louis Vuitton rose four places to number 20 in the global table and it made the biggest brand contribution to its parent company, with LVMH's other brands, Hennessy, Mo?t & Chandon and Fendi also making top 10 contributions.

It is not a one-way street for brands. Retailers compete with consumer goods companies such as Procter & Gamble and Unilever to capture consumers' loyalty. They have been very successful. Wal-Mart has slipped to seventh place in the global league table, but retains great customer loyalty. Target, its more fashionable rival, has risen 25 places by positioning itself as fashion-conscious discounter.

Such stores drive very hard bargains with branded good manufacturers for the latter to be allowed space on their shelves. Even P&G felt the need to bulk up by acquiring Gillette as a counter to retailers that exerted buying power against branded goods.

A second challenge to brands has come from generics manufacturers in industries such as pharmaceuticals. Although drugs companies invest billions in research, they also feel the need to use marketing to counter generic competition – and each others' biggest brands – in every clinical area. Even off-patent over-the-counter medicines such as pain-killers are carefully branded.

A final challenge is the ease with which intangible – and even physical products – can be pirated. It is difficult for western motor manufacturers to avoid their cars and trucks being meticulously copied. It is even harder for software groups and entertainment companies to stop music and films being digitally cracked and reproduced over the internet and on CDs and DVDs.

Despite all these forces, companies that build strong brands have big advantages over rivals. Google's single-minded determination to become the top search and information service – at the cost of not putting display advertisements on its home page – allowed it to push Yahoo aside.

Ms Seddon argues that strong brands allow companies not only to increase their revenues and margins but to deploy capital better and gain ancillary advantages. “If you are Goldman Sachs or Microsoft, you can recruit the best business school graduates and they stay with you longer. Toyota gets a borrowing advantage in bond markets that is difficult to explain without reference to its brand,” she says.

To burnish their brands, companies need determination. Google's founders insisted they would ignore pressure to meet short-term earnings targets. It is hardly a coincidence that most of the top 10 brands have strong identities and distinctive cultures and operating methods.

Even large US corporations such as Citigroup and General Electric have managed to raise their brand value (the brand in the former case being Citi) despite enduring tough scrutiny from corporate shareholders. That must reassure Chuck Prince and Jeff Immelt, who head the two companies. Despite Wall Street's scepticism, their brands are still growing.

In terms of long-term shareholder value, that is good news. Since the long-term value of companies, even of industrial congromerates such as GE, is increasingly tied up in brands, these are the assets that managers should care about most. Investors may be impatient to see improvements on the bottom line but take care of the brands and the brands will, in the fullness of time, take care of the shareholders.

Global Top 15

By value

Rank Brand

1 Google

2 GE (General Electric)

3 Microsoft

4 Coca Cola (*)

5 China Mobile

6 Marlboro

7 Wal-Mart

8 Citi

9 IBM

10 Toyota

11 McDonald's

12 Nokia

13 Bank of America

14 BMW

15 HP

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