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APCO Identifies 50 ‘Champion Brands’

Global study validates four key attributes to measuring and building corporate brand strength; uncovers ‘stakebrokers’ as new set of highly engaged influencers

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Delhi | January 25, 2013

APCO Worldwide today announced the 50 companies that top its Champion Brand Index, a first-of-its-kind global study that measures the brand strength of nearly 600 of the world’s largest public and private companies. The groundbreaking study identifies those brands that are performing best against a new proprietary approach for evaluating and building corporate brands.

With respect to regional corporate brands, the companies in India that are identified as best achieving Champion Brand status include Hero Motors and Indian Oil Corporation.

“Champion Brands are those companies that have best aligned their business strategy, vision and values with the shared interests of their stakeholders,” said Margery Kraus, founder and CEO of APCO Worldwide. “It’s clear that having quality products or services is no longer enough. Today’s most successful brands – Champion Brands – are creating enduring relationships with their stakeholders by creating societal value while also delivering corporate value.”

A Corporate Brand-Building Model for the 21st Century

The study, conducted by APCO Insight®, surveyed more than 70,000 people in 15 countries. The study measures how companies perform against a new model, the four A’s that make up Champion Brand, which provides a 21st-century framework for building corporate brands:

·         Alignment: meeting stakeholders’ most important expectations

·         Authenticity: acting in a way that is consistent with what a company says

·         Attachment: the extent to which stakeholders connect emotionally with a company

·         Advocacy: advocating on behalf of stakeholders’ interests, applying unique expertise and assets to add value to society

“The study demonstrated that excellence on each attribute is increasingly difficult to achieve, but as companies advance through each dimension they do more than simply build product brand value,” said Bryan Dumont, president of APCO Insight. “Companies that perform well against all of the 4As move from being good corporate brands to becoming Champion Brands, and Champion Brands are winning in this new environment.”

“This model is truly a branding blueprint -- it gives companies an actionable roadmap to building their corporate brands,” said Nancy Bachrach, a global branding strategist and former chief marketing officer of Grey Worldwide.

Meet The “Stakebroker”

The research also discovered a new set of influencers called stakebrokers, a group of highly engaged individuals who act and think in ways that differentiate them from traditional influencers. Stakebrokers engage with companies from the perspective of, and with the interests of, all of the different traditional stakeholder groups simultaneously: consumers, community members, environmentalists, policy influencers, employees and investors.  From their 360-degree view, stakebrokers are highly engaged and influential individuals and broker information and influence to both the masses and elites.

“Stakebrokers are fully invested in the success of companies, and connecting with stakebrokers is a company’s surest path to becoming a Champion Brand,” said Robert Schooling, president of APCO’s Americas region. “In terms of future-proofing a corporate brand, these are the people – generationally and geographically – to whom the company needs to pay attention.”

“Audiences worldwide increasingly expect companies to contribute to positive social change,” concluded Kraus. “And corporate leaders now recognize they are an essential part of the societies in which they operate – essential for what they bring to the market, for the economic and social value they bring to the community and for how they can help transform the social and environmental challenges of our time.”

The Index Rankings

The Champion Brand index rankings demonstrate how a company is viewed in meeting stakeholder expectations for the 4As and how close a company is to achieving Champion Brand status.

Below are the top 50 Global Champion Brands the study identified, in alphabetical order:


Adobe Systems


Bayer Group

BMW Group




Costco Wholesale

Deere & Co


Discovery Communications

Ford Motor




HJ Heinz

Home Depot

Honda Motor





Johnson & Johnson


Levi Strauss & Co



Michelin Group







Procter & Gamble


SC Johnson & Son



Sony Mobile

Stanley Black & Decker

The Coca-Cola Company

Toyota Group


Volkswagen Group

Walt Disney



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