Credit crisis wipes billions off the value of banking brands

Internet giants among biggest winners
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The Independent Online

The worst-hit financial services brands have lost $16bn (£9.7bn) of their value thanks to the last 12 tumultuous months of the banking crisis, a leading survey will say today.

Taken together, the top 100 world brands have lost around 4.5 per cent of their worth since 2008, according to the Interbrand annual league table. But while there have been no movers in the top five spots – ranking Coca-Cola, IBM, Microsoft, GE and Nokia the same as last year – the financial crisis has caused the biggest losses in value since the survey began a decade ago.

UBS was this year's biggest overall faller, losing a staggering 50 per cent of its value to leave the brand worth $4.4bn compared with nearly $9bn last year. The fall took the Swiss bank from 41st place to 72nd in the league. The second biggest drop was Citi, which lost 49 per cent and fell from 19th to 36th. Morgan Stanley was also hit hard, dropping by 26 per cent. Amex lost 32 per cent and fell seven places to 22nd. HSBC lost 20 per cent.

But last year's catastrophe has also had its winners, even in the banking sector. Goldman Sachs held on to its 38th place with a respectable 10 per cent drop in value, and JP Morgan stayed at 37th with an 11 per cent loss. Interbrand is also tipping Barclays, Credit Suisse and Santander – none of which is yet in the top 100 – as names to watch in the future.

Graham Hales, the managing director of Interbrand, said: "There are different stories here about how financial services brands have managed themselves through the crisis. Some of the bank brands have been able to maintain a degree of confidence even in difficult circumstances, where others' lack of confidence is being clearly communicated by the organisation."

Away from financial services, the top-performing brands continue to add millions of dollars to their value. Google – which shot up by 43 per cent last year – was also 2009's fastest riser, adding another quarter to its brand valuation, taking it to 7th place overall with a total value of $32m. "Google is continuing its march up the table," Mr Hales said. "It continues to dominate its market and also continues to innovate, such as the phone about to come out."

The next best performer was Amazon, adding 22 per cent to take it to 43rd position. "Amazon does well as a retailer without a retail footprint, so it benefits from a more efficient business model," Mr Hales said. Zara, the Spanish-owned clothing chain, which jumped by 14 per cent and rose from 62nd to 50th is also boosted by market-leading logistics that takes fashions from the catwalk to the high street faster than its competitors can.

Another big mover was Nestlé, adding $727m or 13 per cent to its value, taking it from 63rd to 58th. And Apple jumped four places up to the league to 20th by adding 12 per cent to take the brand value to $15bn.

While it is little surprise that financial services companies should be faring badly, or that recession-hit industrial sectors such as automotive also show a marked dip, the lift to companies with low-commitment branded products was less expected, according to Interbrand. Not only has Coca-Cola, held on to the top spot – adding 3 per cent to its brand value and taking it to an eye-watering $69m – but Gillette, H&M and Kellogg's have done well through the downturn for similar reasons.

Top-end luxury brands have also held on to the majority of their value, compared with their mid-market counterparts. Ferrari was by far the best-performing automotive brand, maintaining last year's $3.5bn valuation, while the majority of others in the top 100 fell by between 5 and 10 per cent. Harley Davidson was one of the worst losers, dropping a whopping 43 per cent, taking it from 50th to 73rd place.