The Painting

The painting

Don’t be fooled by the title though that was exactly the intention. 😉

I had been intending to write this post since I read about Apple’s  results for Q1 – 2012. The post isn’t about to eulogize Apple or compare the massive earnings to, how it’s more valuable than Greece or can buy Facebook simply through its cash reserves et al. Just a random article on the changing corporate landscape. I am also not filling this article with this era vs that era data. A simple write-up on what I feel. (This has always been the case and I keep it that way because I can only speak for myself or my thoughts, can’t really speak on behalf of the humanity).

I did MBA in Marketing. I was fascinated by Brands. (Most of the MBA marketing guys are, during the B-School days!) I was always fascinated by Wal-Mart and Coca Cola. One was the biggest and the other, the most valuable at that time.

Not many years have passed between then and now. That was 2001-2003 and this is 2011-2012. 10 years are not much when you’re going to talk about brands and cults. It takes years to build them.

Apple results shocked me. I know they would cough up big numbers but that was astounding. Amazing.

Coming back, the top 10 organizations in 2001 were:

2001

This Financial Times based list is up to date as of 31 March 2001.[31]

Rank

Name

Headquarters

Primary industry

Market value (USD million)

1 General Electric United States Conglomerate 477,406
2 Cisco Systems United States Networking hardware 304,699
3 Exxon Mobil United States Oil and gas 286,367
4 Pfizer United States Health care 263,996
5 Microsoft United States Software industry 258,436
6 Wal-Mart United States Retail 250,955
7 Citigroup United States Banking 250,143
8 Vodafone United Kingdom Telecommunications 227,175
9 Intel Corporation United States Computer hardware 227,048
10 Royal Dutch Shell United Kingdom Oil and gas 206,340

Source : Wikipedia quoting Financial Times

Ok, now the top 10 Organizations in 2011 basis Q4 ending were:

2011

This Financial Times Global 500 based list is up to date as of December 31, 2011. Indicated changes in market value are relative to the previous quarter.

Rank

First quarter[3]

Second quarter[4]

Third quarter[5]

Fourth quarter[6]

1 Exxon Mobil
417,166.7
Exxon Mobil
400,884.5
Apple Inc.
353,518.1
Exxon Mobil
406,272.1
2 PetroChina
326,199.2
Apple Inc.
310,412.3
Exxon Mobil
353,135.2
Apple Inc.
376,410.6
3 Apple Inc.
321,072.1
PetroChina
303,649.9
PetroChina
276,473.9
PetroChina
276,844.9
4 Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
251,078.1
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
246,850.5
IBM
208,843.5
Royal Dutch Shell
236,677.0
5 Petrobras
247,417.6

BHP Billiton
233,626.5
Microsoft
208,534.9
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
228,168.1
6
BHP Billiton
247,079.5
Royal Dutch Shell
225,122.8
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
206,021.4
Microsoft
218,380.1
7 China Construction Bank
232,608.6
Microsoft
219,251.9
China Mobile
198,778.7
IBM
216,724.4
8 Royal Dutch Shell
226,128.7
Nestlé
215,017.5
Royal Dutch Shell
197,061.1
Chevron Corporation
211,893.9
9 Chevron Corporation
215,780.6
Petrobras
210,111.4
Nestlé
191,115.6
Wal-mart
204,659.8
10 Microsoft
213,336.4
IBM
207,781.4
Chevron Corporation
185,456.1
China Mobile
196,148.4

My fascination was not knowing what were the top 10 biggest organizations in the world or what were the top 10 brands of the year. However since we are at it, let us list down the Top 10 brands also of the corresponding eras. (Promise, no more data on this era vs that era 😉 )

Top 10 Brands in 2001

  1. Coca Cola
  2. Microsoft
  3. GE
  4. Nokia
  5. Intel
  6. Disney
  7. Ford
  8. McDonalds
  9. AT&T
  10. Marlboro

(This data is from Interbrand and that had just started then and 2001 was actually the FIRST year, they came out with the ranking based on Brands. Interbrand is the holy grail when it comes to ranking of Brands simply because of the humongous sample size they select and the ground area they cover, the demographies that they cover.)

Top 10 brands in 2011

  1. Coca Cola
  2. IBM
  3. Microsoft
  4. Google
  5. GE
  6. McDonalds
  7. Intel
  8. Apple
  9. Disney
  10. HP

What’s the point? The point is, market caps come and go, companies balance sheets vary. Companies go bust, go boom. The changes in the largest organizations’ list are huge and will always be there because of the changing demands of the world’s needs. Most of the biggest companies in the world today are the Petro companies because we need Oil. But have a look at the top 10 Brands list. Hardly any change which is NOT expected. Brands give you sustainability. In the beginning of the article, I had told you that 10 years is too short a time to displace a brand of its ranking. Apple made its entry in both the largest organizations’ list and the Top Brands list in 2011. It was not present in either of them in 2001! Well, let’s just say, it’s just a coincidence that Apple launched the first ever iPod in 2001! Yes, Apple changed the game in 10 years. Jobs realized that the future was in technology. (He was Jobs. He must have known that the future also belonged to petroleum products also but guess, his expertise lied in tech. J)

Apple results which shocked us (me at least) are more in line with getting the things right. Brands are loved by Public. When you marry the market expectations with public, you win. When your products are equally loved as your brand, you win and you win big.

Look at the top 10 brands of 2011. All these companies are doing fantastically well. Incidentally, all the tech companies in top 10 brands’ list have made it to the top 10 organizations in the worlds’ list too with the only notable exception of HP. There may be various reasons and of course exceptions are everywhere.

The 10 years have changed the landscape of the demands we have. We want Petroleum products and Technology today. Marry your products to your brand value to see the profits surge. Apple is soaring because the company is still enjoying the honeymoon of that marriage! Remember, it wasn’t in either of the list in 2001! It may not remain on top of the largest organizations list for long but marriage of products to brand has ensured it of a sustainable business for a long long time.

Remember, the number one brand is in business for 125 years now! 🙂

About Ashutosh

A family guy who loves phones, music, movies, tea, sweats and gizmos :)
This entry was posted in Musings on technology. Bookmark the permalink.

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