Of Scores and Rankings
We all follow with professional interest, and sheer curiosity, the many brand-related Best and Top lists. I know first-hand how time-consuming and expensive it is to establish and weigh the parameters, analyze industries, companies and their markets and competition, create and annotate the List, and then market/promote it. Firms go through all this trouble for self-marketing reasons of course, as these Lists – and their discrete contributing factors – present their scientifically-quantified viewpoint on Brands and Branding, yield recognition and publicity, are made to be proof of insightful expertise, and are used as a differentiator vs other consultants. In addition, and importantly, the List’s philosophy and parameters then often become the roots for proprietary brand development methodologies.
Each List is based on beliefs and perspectives: “brands have financial value”, “there are no more ‘markets’, there’s only ‘me’”, “brands can change the world”, “employees are the definers and drivers of a Brand”, and so on. Nothing wrong with that – diverse views, all correct, and put forth with genuine conviction. The only thing that bothers me a bit is when I hear in the same sentence the celebrating notion of world-changing brands and Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Toyota, and Mercedes being in the top 10: the two aspects don’t go together – with all due respect to these great companies/brands, I’d be hard-pressed to label them world-changers (unless I add supporting evidence for it).
Bottom line, the very existence of these many lists goes to show the many important dimensions of ‘brand’. Not sure how feasible it would be, but wouldn’t it be great to make a singular, all-encompassing, multi-dimensional List of business enterprises that make a difference? I like ‘most valuable’ as the overarching parameter, but ‘value’ needs a definition. Given what the world is today and where is going, I can think of four components – each of them mission-critical in a different way: Economic Value, Societal Impact (by either product or activities), Employer/Workplace, and Customer Loyalty. I’d call it the 360º List, with 90 as the top score of each of the four components of value. For a company to be included, each of the four parameters would have to score a minimum of, say, 70 – and there would be measured and measurable interrelations between them, which will yield extra points. Finally, to the extent possible, it would have to be divided by industry – as you can’t compare Apple and Orange (sorry, couldn’t resist). Now I’d have homogeneous Lists of companies that because of their excellence in all four value components can truly affect beneficial change in key industries that make the world go round. As soon as I can afford the luxury of having 5-6 months free I’ll work on it.