Recently, international brand consultancy, Interbrand, released its annual list of Most Valuable Brands. The list gained a surprising amount of attention as long-time incumbent, Coca Cola, was replaced Apple and Google for the top two spots. The rankings are created by Interbrand‘s algorithm which looks at financial performance, brand strength, other metrics and subjective data.

Despite the data gathered by this system, it is important to step back and take a look at what it means to wield the title of “The Most Valuable Brand in the World.”

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Interbrand uses an actual dollar value to rank its listings, which works fine for Wall Street, but what does this mean for Main Street where consumers look at brands through a different lens?

For brand loyalists, there is certainly a sense of justification when the brand that you identify with is recognized as one of the most valuable in the world. From an identity loyalty perspective, however, consumers have to measure how much the brand represents who they are and what using certain products may say about them. This is important because this is the factor that underlies a brand’s strength and staying power.

Consumers who form an identity connection with a certain brand are less likely to be swayed by cheaper alternatives or brand denigration that may come from the competition. These individuals are also more likely to pay a “justified” premium for the brand that they voluntarily connect with, and see these products as an extension of themselves.

This mentality lends itself to a “sticky” base that the brand can count on not only to sustain its business model but actually facilitate its growth and development.

While Interbrand references loyalty as part of its methodology in determining brand value, it is not clear how they are defining loyalty metrics. It would be interesting to cross reference Interbrand’s list with a list of most valuable brands as compiled from consumer/customer driven research.

-Samuel Botts