Price is placed on world's top brands

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The Independent Online
TWO WORDS, eight letters. Yours at a snip for pounds 52bn. That is the price tag of Coca-Cola, the most valuable brand name in the world, shows research published yesterday.

In what is one of the most comprehensive studies of its kind, international branding consultancy Interbrand attempted to value that most intangible of a company's assets, its name. The survey, The $1bn Brands, has tried to fix accurately how much a household name is worth.

Far outstripping the rest of the top 60 global brand names, is beverages giant Coca-Cola whose dominance of the soft drinks market with Coke is so globally pervasive that its name is said to be worth almost pounds 52bn ($84bn). The simple string of white-on-red letters account for more than 60 per cent of the total value of the company.Pepsi can muster only around pounds 3.75bn ($6bn) for its name.

Coca-Cola's nearest rival is Bill Gates's Microsoft, first in a long list of "new tech" companies who pepper the league table, whose brand name is said to be worth pounds 35bn ($57bn).

They are followed by an all-US top 10, which includes IBM, Ford, Disney, McDonald's andMarlboro.

The first non-US entry at 11th place is the Finnish telecommunications giant, Nokia, valued at pounds 13bn ($21bn) indicating just how swiftly mobile phone technology has established a global footing.

Its Swedish rival Ericsson also makes it into the top 20 with a price tag of pounds 9.2bn ($15bn). Names of the Internet portal company Yahoo! and loss-making on-line bookseller are valued at pounds 1bn each.

British firms struggle at global branding. BT may have dropped British from its logo but it has not helped achieve a global value.

BA might be the world's favourite airline but it was excluded because it was not deemed to be operating in a purely free market, largely due to regulations and its historic control over a large share of landing and take-off slots at Heathrow Airport.

The only British entries were oil giants BP Mobil at 45th place with its BP name valued under pounds 1.87bn ($3bn), Shell pounds 1.7bn ($2.7bn) and Johnnie Walker, pounds 1bn ($1.6bn). Marks & Spencers were absent, as were Sainsbury's. Interbrand says they are "too dominant in one market". The survey's complex calculations pinpoint how much of a company's earnings is attributable directly to its name rather than any other asset.