Economic crisis boosts biggest business brands

Banks fall out of favour as blue-chip stalwarts trade on trust in troubled times

Established blue-chip brands are benefiting from a "flight to quality" in rocky economic times, according to a survey of 1,700 business people.

At the top of the 500-strong league, compiled from the results of the Business Superbrands poll, the fight between Microsoft and Google took another twist as the software group knocked Google down after two years at No 1 and the increasingly battered internet search engine dropped to fifth.

Rolls-Royce held on to second place for the second year running, followed by BlackBerry and Virgin Atlantic. The rest of the Top 10 were made up of the London Stock Exchange, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), British Airways (BA), Visa and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Out of the whole list of the business community's Top 500 brands, it was those that were strongest to start with that ultimately performed best. "There is relative calm in the Top 50," said Stephen Cheliotis, the chief executive of the Centre for Brand Analysis, which conducts the research. "The market leaders in specific categories are extending their leads in the flight-to-quality response in the economic downturn. Whether that is Goldman Sachs in banking, or Eddie Stobart in transportation, the top brands are extending their leads over their competitors."

Trusted British stalwarts also did particularly well, with BP, Shell and BT joining Rolls-Royce, GSK and BA in the Top 20. "People are showing trust in a number of the big British corporations," Mr Cheliotis said. "There is a sense that they will be reliable in difficult times."

The worst performer was Moody's, the credit-rating agency, which dropped 168 places to 471. The Carbon Trust did badly too, dropping 167 places to 474th.

Unsurprisingly, four banks feature in the league's Top 10 fallers – JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, UBS and Dresdner Kleinwort. And Royal Bank of Scotland crashed out of the Top 500 altogether for the first time. But not all were equally hard hit. HSBC and Barclays – which may have benefited from government intervention in the sector, but avoided direct support – both rose in the rankings, to 41st and 73rd respectively. The Co-operative Bank also saw a major gain, rising from 320th to 229th. "Clearly the financial sector has been hit hard," Mr Cheliotis said. "But not all are tarred with the same brush."

Other poor performers this year were chip-maker AMD, Canary Wharf Group, CNBC and Pickfords. The biggest risers include Premier Inn, the pub group, which shot up by 197 places to 240th position. Aviva – the rebranded Norwich Union – also did well, as did trade publication Management Today, Bombardier and DHL.

One firm that will be happy with the results is BA. The airline is a long-standing member of the Top 10 in both the business and consumer versions of the Superbrand survey. But it dropped out of the business ranking for the first time last year after the disastrous opening of Heathrow's Terminal 5 in 2008.

This year, BA is back in the Top 10, despite industrial relations troubles and forecasts of a second year of unprecedented losses. But relief at surmounting the Terminal 5 fiasco will be tempered by the presence of arch-rival Virgin Atlantic four places ahead.

"The question mark now is whether the current problems will put a quick end to the bounce-back or BA can hang on to its Top 10 status next year," Mr Cheliotis said. "People do tend to forgive really strong brands, and trust them to sort out their troubles, but there is a tipping point."

Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
world cup 2014A history of the third-place play-offs
Tommy Ramone performing at The Old Waldorf Nightclub in 1978 in San Francisco, California.
peopleDrummer Tommy was last surviving member of seminal band
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

The Mexico chief finally lets rip as his emotions get the better of him
world cup 2014
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
Life and Style
Several male celebrities have confessed to being on a diet, including, from left to right, Hugh Grant, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ryan Reynolds
...and the weight loss industry is rubbing its hands in glee
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Arts and Entertainment
'Eminem's recovery from substance abuse has made him a more potent performer, with physical charisma and energy he never had before'
arts + entsReview: Wembley Stadium ***
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows, Network Security)

£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows...

Service Desk Analyst (Windows, Active Directory, ITIL, Reuter)

£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Windows, Active Dire...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice