Britain is no longer home to any of the world's leading brands, according to the influential Best Global Brands index which was published last night. The survey, compiled annually by Interbrand, concluded that no UK company figured in the top 30, indicating that Britain's businesses are falling behind those from Germany and France.
Britain had six brands in the top 100, but propped up the bottom of that list. HSBC was the highest rated, at 32, Barclays reached 74 and Shell 81.
Spirits brands Smirnoff and Johnnie Walker, owned by UK-based Diageo, came 89th and 92nd respectively, while Burberry finished in 100th place.
Following the debacle over the Deepwater oil disaster, British-owned BP was ejected from the list entirely. Interbrand said: "BP's environmental disaster and inability to make good on its brand promise of 'Beyond Petroleum' led to it falling off the list."
By contrast, Germany had 10 companies in the top 100, the second-highest number for any nation, demonstrating its strong grip on industrial luxury. Mercedes-Benz and BMW were both in the top 20.
Louis Vuitton, Gucci and L'Oréal helped France to earn nine places in the list. Japan had six, with top 20 rankings for Honda and Toyota. There were places lower in the rankings for the electronics makers Canon, Sony, Nintendo and Panasonic. American corporations dominated the table, claiming 50 of the top 100 places. For the 11th year running, Coca-Cola claimed the No 1 spot, ahead of long-established computer company IBM.
Microsoft, whose brand strength jumped by 7 per cent during the past year, remained in third position, followed by Google, which increased its corporate standing and power by 36 per cent.
The other US firms in the top 10 were General Electric (5), McDonald's, Intel, Disney and Hewlett Packard. Finland's Nokia was the only non-US company in the top 10. Strong rises were recorded by technology giants absent from the top 20 a decade ago: Apple climbed from 20 to 17, while Amazon rose from 43 to 36. Despite the economic downturn, other luxury brands, including Cartier, Armani and Tiffany & Co, saw the value of their names increase after continuing to invest in their heritage and status.
Many companies' reputations stalled or went into reverse last year, however. The US investment bank Goldman Sachs, for example, failed to progress sharply up the list – despite posting impressive financial results – because of a public backlash against its ethics, the report said.
Toyota fell three places to No 11 following the recall of millions of cars as a result of accelerator and braking problems. "Although the Toyota recall caused the brand to lose 16 per cent of its value, its long-standing reputation for reliability, efficiency and innovation helped it weather the crisis better than expected," the researchers concluded. The analysts compiled the table by assessing each company's financial performance, together with the strength of its brand in influencing purchasing decisions, and the future power of its reputation.