Archive for 'Google'

Profitable Tech Trends for the New Year

You don’t need to be Nostradamus to see the future profits in this sector, it’s already here and getting bigger.

Prognostication is a humbling business. Last year at this time Mark Anderson, a tech futurist type and CEO of the Strategic News Service, predicted that Amazon (AMZN) would have a tough time in 2015, citing e-book squabbles, drone expenditures and the Fire phone flop. Oops.

All Amazon did was blow the doors off in 2105, with the stock up over 120% in a flat market. What’s up with that, Mark? “I thought Jeff [Bezos] was making too many mistakes, and that the shareholders and or customers would take it out on him,” he wrote to me in an email. “But AWS [Amazon Web Services] has been throwing off so much cash that nothing else mattered — even though the NY Times story came out and harmed the company’s reputation, and even though the Harvard Business Review dropped him from first place to near last based on some of these flaws. So, the world did indeed catch on to Jeff’s issues, but cloud computing saved the day.”

Fair enough Mark, and good for you for owning up to your miss. (And by the way, Mark had some good calls too.)

With that cautionary tell in mind, I set out to make some calls of my own, putting out three big tech trends for 2016. These aren’t the “holy-crow-I-never-even-thought-about-that” variety. Rather, they’re existing trends that I think will either hit the mainstream, become part of the public conversation, or have mega implications for investors in 2016. So here goes:

—VR. (If you have to ask what that means, you are officially behind the eight ball.) VR stands for virtual reality, of course, and yes, it’s those goofy headsets that zoom you into another world, and yes, you’ve been hearing about them for a few years now. But the point is that 2016 is the year these puppies will actually roll out to the general public. Even more significantly, VR really looks to be a major, incipient, platform battleground in the world of Tech. To wit: Sony (SNE) and Microsoft (MSFT) are debuting VR products next year. So, too, is HTC, which may be a Hail Mary for that company. Google (GOOGL) has already introduced Google Cardboard, a low-end VR offering and has also invested in a stealth VR company with the ultimate VC-bait name: “Magic Leap.” But maybe Facebook (FB) will plant the biggest stake in the ground with a product from its Oculus Rift subsidiary, which Zuck & Co. bought for $2 billion in 2014. How big a deal is this? In a recent interview I did with Facebook’s head of sales, Carolyn Everson, she talked about how the company operates with mobile as its primary platform today but then went on to characterize Oculus thusly: “We think that can be the next operating system for the future.” Wow! No small thing there. (If you want to see how enamored Zuck himself is of Oculus, check out this Vanity Fair piece.) Still early days here. Oculus will only work on high-end PCs (which is weird), and the audience is all about gamers for now. But 2016 is merely year one. What the VR biz looks like in 2026, no one knows, but it will be big.


See more of the future

Google Tops Mergers & Acquisitions List for 2011

Google Tops Mergers & Acquisitions List for 2011

Google Tops Mergers & Acquisitions List for 2011-Image via CrunchBase

Berkery Noyes, an independent middle market investment bank, today released its Full Year 2011 Mergers and Acquisitions trend report for the Information Industry.

The Information Industry report, which Berkery Noyes defines as all media, software, and online companies, analyzes M&A in 2011 and compares it with activity in 2009 and 2010.

The median revenue multiple increased from 1.7x in 2010 to 2.1x in 2011, while the median EBITDA multiple increased from 10.5x to 12.0x. Total transaction volume in 2011 increased by 17 percent over 2010, from 2639 to 3098.

The most active acquirer for 2011 in the Information Industry was Google with 25 acquisitions, including 5 in the Fourth Quarter: Clever Sense, RightsFlow, Apture, Katango, and SocialGrapple. Overall, Google had 58 Information acquisitions from 2009 to 2011.

“Large tech players were heavily involved in intellectual property M&A,” said James Berkery, Chief Information Officer at Berkery Noyes. “Strong strategic interest in the sector was evident in 2011. For instance, Nortel sold 6,000 wireless patents in July 2011 for $4.5 billion to a consortium that included Microsoft, Research In Motion, Sony, Ericsson, EMC, and Apple.”

In several 2011 transactions, Google acquired a wide range of patents from IBM. Technology companies such as Google are likely to increase their patent portfolios for several reasons, principally to drive product innovation and to hedge against the increasing prevalence of patent litigation. Google’s acquisition of RightsFlow in December 2011, which will help with music licensing concerns on YouTube, shows that the search giant is determined to be a key player in the IP space.

Berkery Noyes specializes in Mergers & Acquisitions advisory services, in addition to structuring debt and equity transactions in the $25 million to $500 million range. Unique among investment banking firms, Berkery Noyes combines independent strategic research and industry intelligence with senior information technology banking expertise. Long having been an innovator in database and research technology in M&A, Berkery Noyes has committed itself to providing more expansive and more current information. The firm’s research teams publish acquisition activity in the respective sectors they follow on

A copy of the FULL YEAR 2011 INFORMATION INDUSTRY MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS REPORT is available at the Berkery Noyes website.

About Berkery Noyes

Berkery Noyes is an independent investment banking advisory firm servicing the information industry. Focused on middle-market corporations and financial sponsors, Berkery Noyes is committed to delivering a comprehensive array of industry-leading advisory services. Since its founding by Joseph W. Berkery in 1983, the firm has worked with corporate clients to grow through acquisition, divest non-core assets, and maximize shareholder returns through strategic transactions and restructurings. For private owners, Berkery Noyes helps create liquidity and execute timely exit strategies that achieve the personal and professional objectives. For more information, visit

­­­Contact Information:
Peter Wilson
Berkery Noyes

Web Site:

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Google Enters the Mortgage Loan Business

Google Enters the Mortgage Loan Business

Google Enters the Mortgage Loan Business-Image by James Marvin Phelps via Flickr

LoanSifter, Inc. (, provider of the mortgage industry’s most complete and intuitive product and real-time pricing platform, announced today a strategic relationship with Google Inc. that gives consumers access to mortgage loan products and real-time pricing based on LoanSifter’s technology, including side-by-side comparisons of mortgage loan products from multiple lenders through Google’s Comparison Ads.

Google’s Comparison Ads help consumers shop for mortgages online by retrieving quotes based on the borrower’s specific loan criteria.  Through a strategic relationship between both companies, Google will leverage LoanSifter’s industry-leading technology – which automates pricing for lenders using the largest real-time database of investor pricing and eligibility content available in the mortgage industry — to provide Google users with information on mortgage products and pricing from the lenders using LoanSifter.  When Google users get these rates, LoanSifter’s lenders will receive qualified online leads.

Greg Ulrich, production manager at Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation in Colleyville, Texas, believes that Google’s popularity provides a great opportunity as another channel for borrowers to reach the company, without substantial investment costs.  “This saves us money, allowing us to pass a greater savings to the consumer,” Ulrich said.

“We chose LoanSifter for our Google auto-quoting because it enables us to customize our pricing more accurately and effectively,” Ulrich added.  “Other vendors require manual supervision, which would have been problematic in keeping up with market shifts.”

Consumers who search for popular mortgage-related terms or phrases on Google are drawn to Google’s proprietary mortgage Comparison Ads, where they can anonymously provide details such as their desired loan amounts and credit scores.  Google will then retrieve multiple reliable offers from dependable lenders, placed side-by-side so the borrower can compare them.  After investigating different scenarios and choosing a lender, the borrower is then able to contact the lender by phone or e-mail.  Borrowers do not have to fill out lengthy forms or click through walls of advertisements in order to access up-to-the-minute loan products and rates, and the leads generated to lenders are anonymous, so that borrowers can protect their private information until they are ready to move forward in the mortgage process.

“Our relationship with Google will be of tremendous benefit to both lenders and consumers,” LoanSifter President Bruce Backer said.  “A growing number of borrowers are using the Internet to find the best possible mortgage deals, and Google’s immense popularity makes it a first stop for many.  Borrowers benefit from the side-by-side comparison in an open marketplace, while lenders benefit from LoanSifter’s ability to accurately price mortgage scenarios on their behalf.”

About LoanSifter

LoanSifter, Inc. provides the banking industry’s most comprehensive tools for mortgage bankers, loan officers and secondary departments to price, market and manage loans. The company’s flagship technology solution is an accurate, web-based product and pricing solution providing bankers with advanced tools to improve their service levels and increase profits. LoanSifter boasts the most comprehensive investor database in the industry with over 160 correspondent and wholesale investors. LoanSifter is also the leader in delivering point-of-sale (POS) and marketing tools to lenders and loan officers, including its eOriginations suite solution, offering highly customizable website utilities (automated consumer-facing pricing search), automated email campaigns, automated quoting for Zillow and LendingTree, scenario-specific rate monitoring alerts, and automated marketing materials. Founded in 2004, LoanSifter is headquartered in Appleton, Wisconsin.  For more information about LoanSifter, call 920.268.4770 or visit

Warren Lutz
Strategic Vantage Marketing & Public Relations
(925) 270-3941

Web Site:

Interactive Brokers Group (NASDAQ: IBKR) Makes Zacks Bull of the Day

Interactive Brokers Group (NASDAQ: IBKR) Makes Zacks Bull of the Day-Image by babblingdweeb via Flickr

Zacks Equity Research highlights Interactive Brokers Group (Nasdaq: IBKR) as the Bull of the Day and Teradyne, Inc. (NYSE: TER) as the Bear of the Day. In addition, Zacks Equity Research provides analysis Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG), Apple, Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Motorola Mobility (NYSE: MMI).

Full analysis of all these stocks is available at

Here is a synopsis of all five stocks:

Bull of the Day:

We are upgrading our recommendation on Interactive Brokers Group (Nasdaq: IBKR) to Outperform as its brokerage business continued to perform well and the company reinstated its quarterly dividend. Despite declining market volumes, Interactive Brokers’ Market Making segment is positioned to improve on better revenue capture.

We expect the company’s strategy with respect to structural changes in the business to bode well. Also, larger average trade sizes continue to improve its Electronic Brokerage segment results.

Our six-month target price of $17.00 per share equates to about 13.5x our earnings estimate for 2011. Combined with a quarterly dividend of $0.10 per share, this target price implies an expected total return of 23.1% over that period. This is consistent with our Outperform recommendation.

Bear of the Day:

Teradyne, Inc. (NYSE: TER) is a leading provider of automated test equipment. The company’s second quarter earnings beat the Zacks Consensus, although revenue growth was sluggish. Forward guidance indicates slack demand, particularly for back-end testing equipment.

While there could be pockets of strength, we think that the negative mix of business, relatively lower exposure to the memory segment and the uncertainty at semiconductor manufacturers will impact results in the next few quarters. As a result, we think that investors are likely to discount the product lineup, leaner cost structure and strong balance sheet.

The company is expected to return earnings growth of 11.9% compared to the peer group average of 12.6%. We believe there is further downside to the shares and we are therefore downgrading the shares to Sell. Our price target also moves from $17 to $12 (10.3X P/E).

Latest Posts on the Zacks Analyst Blog:

Google Hits Another Homer in Q3

Even though analysts seemed a tad wary of Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) 3rd quarter 2011 earnings numbers after the closing bell today, the search engine king stepped up to the plate and took one long. Revenues of $9.72 billion were up 33% year over year and 8% sequentially. Diluted EPS (how Zacks reports Google’s earnings) reached $8.33, easily topping the $7.59 Zacks Consensus Estimate.

The 10% positive earnings surprise bested the average positive surprise over the last 4 quarters of 8.5%, and after-market traders duly took notice. Up 1.91% in regular Thursday trading, GOOG shares have shot up 5.2% in the after-market, which is tempered a bit from the initial reaction to the earnings report.

Kicking off Google’s press release this afternoon was a proud notice that Google+, GOOG’s new social network, has already surpassed 40 million users. Much the way Google has the pluck to have attempted to rival Apple, Inc.’s (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPhone with its Android operating system for smartphones, so does Google+ appear to be going after market share from soon-to-go-public Facebook, Inc.

This all said, Google does have its work cut out for it. Aside from buying Motorola Mobility (NYSE: MMI) for $12.5 billion earlier in the 3rd quarter, Google has also increased its workforce by 10% over the past three months. Add some anti-trust hearings with the Federal Trade Commission and some concerns over Android patent wars, and it may be understandable why 4 analysts have actually downwardly revised estimates over the past month for Q4 and the full fiscal year.

Then again, with Google’s growing reputation of continuing to beat market expectations soundly (nearly always — GOOG did post a 1.4% miss in Q1 2011), we’ll see if some of the 21 current earnings estimates on the company are revised upward in the coming days.

Get the full analysis of all these stocks by going to

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Realtors Find Video Marketing Stats Impressive

VScreen was featured in September’s issue of ‘Real Estate Magazine’, highlighting how video marketing is taking the real estate industry by storm and what its future holds.

Internet video marketing is rapidly taking center stage in the real estate industry…and experts say it’s no surprise. Featured in September’s issue of Real Estate Magazine, VScreen CEO Stephen Schweickart said real estate video’s compelling statistics provide indisputable ammunition to back the claim. With video comprising over 50% of all Internet activity…and YouTube now being both the world’s 2nd ranked search engine and website…Schweickart says the handwriting is on the wall. “It’s not a matter of whether or not Realtors will incorporate video into their marketing…but rather how far behind they will fall before seeing the light”.

‘Old school’ brokers and agents may limit their concept of video to traditional home video tours…but according to Real Estate Magazine…that’s only a small slice of the pie. Schweickart says it’s important to know what kind of video content really matters to viewers…and then film accordingly to meet that need. “At VScreen, we produce a wide variety of content ranging from ‘how-to’ videos on real estate related topics for brokers to place on their websites…all the way to local market update videos and agent profiles. In fact, 84% of all videos viewed on-line are either informational or how-to in nature, versus only 14% that are transaction based (buy/sell)”…Schweickart added.

As technology grows…the importance of search engine optimization and keeping current with mobile technology is especially important when considering how video impacts such marketing strategies. According to VScreen…brokers and agents don’t have the time to keep up to speed with every new development and technology…but they should be working with someone who is. The measurable results of Internet video have solidly established the medium as the premier tool for Internet marketing for real estate professionals.

About VScreen

VScreen is a leading Internet video strategy firm and cutting-edge production studio, offering turnkey video solutions for companies looking for the latest in syndicated consumer video content, custom video production and automated video technology. Specializing in vertical markets such as real estate, VScreen is the trusted video source for the most reputable national brands within their respective industry, serving clients such as Yahoo! Real Estate,, and many others.

Search Engine Options Expanding With New Startup a startup out of Cleveland,Ohio has recently launched a new alternative search engine that allows you to search the web in the international language of your choice. Superior to the standard search engine this search engine speaks your language. Corporate Logo

Search The Dot Com!

Quote startSpecially formulated with no annoying ads!Quote end

“ wants you to search the web in the language of your choice and the language you understand”, says a key executive with the development team. has recently launched a brand new alternative search engine which offers search results in multiple international languages not just standard english like your typical search engine but spanish, french ,german, russian, arabic, hindi and tamil.

Unlike most major search engines has deployed their search engine without paid advertisements littering the search results page. This excellent feature results in web users finding the information they need faster while not annoying them with unnecessary advertisements. A major built in feature is the ability for a web user to search in any language of their choice instantly by the click of a button.

Other standard features include a robust multi-language image, video and news search tool. Their unique one click search tool is available to any user so they can also search across the web for PDF files, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, standard text files as well as Powerpoint presentations all in multiple international languages. One more bonus is a dictionary search which can be easily cross referenced in many different languages as well. The team at has definately created a unique, useful and truly global search engine. Check it out. This new alternative search engine can be visited at:


Using Social Media for Business Promotion

New content syndication site and social marketing tool builds buzz through collaboration. Solves a common problem business owners and social media consultants share – how to quickly build online buzz for their business or clients.

Announcing the Social Buzz Club – a new tool for improving social media ROI through collaboration. Social Buzz Club is a network of social media influencers, consultants, bloggers and online marketers. Members of the club repost and retweet content, so one post can quickly reach thousands of people.

Social Buzz Club provides marketing consultants and social media professionals a way to expand their reach and use social media in a more profitable way, both for themselves and their clients.

Free Two-Month Trial Membership
Want to build buzz for your brand or product?

Sign up for free two-month trial of the Social Buzz Club here Tweet This

The idea for the Social Buzz Club came out of a focus group with social media professionals. Founders, Kathryn Rose and Laura Rubinstein, address a common problem they all face – how to build buzz for their varied clients.

“The number one challenge social media consultants and business owners share is how they can build buzz quickly and in a targeted way. We realized if we collected other social media professionals with large followings, we could collaborate to gain targeted followers for our clients and dramatically increase social media return on investment,” says Kathryn Rose, CEO.
Members Gain Expert Education

Charter Members of the Social Buzz Club were selected from a group of highly-respected social media pros, such as Relationship and Facebook Marketing Expert Mari Smith, and Blogger Expert Denise Wakeman. Each Charter Member has agreed to provide their expertise through regular webinars and blogposts exclusively for Members. Charter Members also agreed to actively share content within the club as well.

Built on reciprocity, the Social Buzz Club developed a system that rewards all Members for being social. The more one shares content, the more one can submit content.
Membership criteria

All Members must have active and powerful networks on various social platforms to join.

  • Minimum of one year in the social networking space
  • Minimum of 150 Facebook friends or fans
  • Minimum of 1000 Twitter followers
  • Must be listed and active on the networks

Submitting Content
Content such as blog posts, articles, video, etc. can be submitted. Members create sample tweets, Facebook comments, StumbleUpon messages, etc.

Buzzing Content with One-Click

  • Members can share content to Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Digg and Stumbleupon with one-click.
  • Members can personalize the headline before sharing.
  • Members choose to share immediately or schedule it for a later date.

For more information on Social Buzz Club

Have you ever thought that there should be a “Yelp” for businesses shopping for services? Well, it’s finally here and it’s called Comparz (

Quote startWe also found that most businesses are shopping for a technology or service provider several times per year and that users find the current options (reading blogs and searching Google) to be too time consuming and not helpful.Quote end

Finally, the more than 27 million small and mid-sized businesses in the U.S. now have an easier way to shop for services they need to run their businesses., which launched today, combines in-depth user reviews and rankings of services for small and mid-sized businesses with free decision tools provided by experts.

“Our research has shown that what businesses want are user reviews, rankings and decision guides for shopping for a particular type of service,” says Comparz Founder & CEO Rachel Blankstein. “We also found that most businesses are shopping for a technology or service provider several times per year and that users find the current options (reading blogs and searching Google) to be too time consuming and not helpful.”

Most business solutions these days have been put online and many you only need to commit to on a monthly basis. However, most shoppers lack sophistication in understanding what they are buying and want guidance, particularly from their peers or from a trusted third-party (and not from the vendor).

Comparz has launched with actionable and easy-to-understand Decision Guides and user reviews and rankings for online solutions in several key areas – customer and lead management, e-mail marketing, Web conferencing and online data backup. More categories and types of business services will be added quickly and all content will always be available at no cost to all site visitors.

The success of tools that target small and mid-sized businesses, such as Hubspot, Constant Contact, Carbonite and Salesforce, are another indication of the growing market for tools for the small business.

More information is available by visiting, or via e-mail to press(at)comparz(dot)com, or by calling 312-217-9650.


Apple Knocks off Google as Number One Brand

Apple Knocks off Google as Number One Brand

Apple Knocks off Google as Number One Brand-Image by Digitalnative via Flickr

Emerging markets account for 19 of the top 100 brands according to WPP company Millward Brown Optimor in its 2011 study of the Most Valuable Global Brands

Registering a staggering 84 percent increase in value over the past year, Apple has emerged as the most valuable brand in the world, ending the four-year reign of Google at the top of the table in the sixth annual BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands study.

The Apple brand, as calculated by Millward Brown Optimor, a WPP (NASDAQ: WPPGY) company, has increased in value by 859 percent since 2006 and now stands at $153.3 billion. Other key findings in the study are that during the economic recovery of the last year, the combined value of all the brands in the top 100 has risen by 17 percent and is now worth $2.4 trillion. In terms of geography, according to the 2011 BrandZ study, 19 of the Top 100 brands now originate in “BRICs” markets, versus only two in 2006.

“The importance of brand for global business success is becoming increasingly significant,” said David Roth at WPP. “In the last year, the global economy shifted from recovery to real growth, the combined value of all brands in the Top 100 ranking has risen by 64 percent since 2006 and is now worth $2.4 trillion. Strong brands, while not immune to the vicissitudes of the market, are more protected, prepared, resourceful and resilient.”

The BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands study, commissioned by WPP and conducted by Millward Brown Optimor, identifies and ranks the world’s most valuable 100 brands by their dollar value, an analysis based on financial data combined with consumer measures of brand equity.

The Most Valuable Global Brands 2011
Rank Brand Value in $ million Brand Value change from 2010
1 Apple 153,285 +84%
2 Google 111,498 -2%
3 IBM 100,849 +17%
4 McDonald’s 81,016 +23%
5 Microsoft 78,243 +2%
6 Coca-Cola* 73,752 +8%
7 at&t 69,916
8 Marlboro 67,522 +18%
9 China Mobile 57,326 +9%
10 GE 50,318 +12%
* The Brand Value of Coca-Cola includes Lites, Diets and Zero

“Our brand valuations are a powerful measure of an organization’s ability to create real and lasting value for shareholders,” said Eileen Campbell, CEO of brand research company Millward Brown. “By nurturing its brand and constantly innovating, Apple is able to command a high price premium and weather economic turbulence, providing a global business success story that other brands can learn from.”

“Business leaders can embrace brand management as a critical competency for building long-term financial value,” she added. “Compared with an overall improvement of 13 percent in the world’s equity markets during 2010, the best brands grew their value 30 percent faster.”

Other key findings highlighted in this year’s research report include:

  • One in five brands is from the BRICs: This year, 19 brands come from emerging markets compared to two in 2006 and 13 in 2010. The growing presence of brands from BRICs in this global ranking highlights the expanding purchasing power of people in these countries. While many of these brands are buoyed by the size of their local customer base, many more now have international ambition including Petrobras in Brazil (No. 61 in the ranking with a brand value of $13.4 billion); ICICI Bank in India (No. 53 and worth $14.9 billion) and China’s largest search engine Baidu. Now listed on the NASDAQ index, Baidu has a brand value of $22.5 billion and moves up 46 places in the ranking to number 29. Despite these successes, consumers in the BRIC regions continue to favor Western brands. Louis Vuitton, for example, (for which Brazil is its second-largest market) benefited from the new energy and confidence in the BRICs region. Its 23 percent growth in brand value to $24.3 billion has helped this luxury retailer achieve 26th place in the ranking, a three-spot increase from 2010.
  • Heritage brands stay relevant in a technology age: Coca-Cola (No. 6), GE (No. 10), IBM (No. 3) and McDonald’s (No. 4), stand out in this study of global brand strength as brands that have survived for more than 50 years.  Leadership, strategy and tactics aside, what all of these companies have in common is their use of brand to remain relevant to consumers and drive global business success.
  • Technology and telecom brands dominate the ranking: Technology brands, which make up one-third of the Top 100 brands, continue to demonstrate their relevance in our daily lives. While Apple leads the ranking, it is followed in second place by Google, with a brand value of $111.5 billion, and IBM in third place with a brand value of $100.9 billion. Facebook makes its debut in the Top 100 ranking this year at No. 35 with the highest increase in brand value, 246 percent, making the brand worth $19.1 billion. Online retailer Amazon also edged past Walmart to become the No. 1 retail brand and 14th overall, with a 37 percent rise in brand value to $37.6 billion.
  • Fast food, luxury and technology brands led brand value appreciation: Each of the 13 market sectors covered in this study grew in value over the last year. Fast food led the sector growth (22 percent) followed by luxury (19 percent) and technology (18 percent). The oil and gas sector experienced the slowest rate of growth (1 percent).
  • Tech and convergence create brand interdependencies: Brands are ever more dependent on their use of technology to win consumers’ hearts and minds. The brand values of Burberry, Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Coca-Cola all benefited from their use of technology for example by harnessing social media and apps. At the same time, the dependencies demonstrated in the physical world between applications, devices and operating platforms are creating similar branded interdependencies. Brands that are aware of the risks can leverage these associations to drive value and growth.
  • Toyota reclaims position as most valuable car brand demonstrating the power of strong brands to recover from the most fundamental challenges to product efficacy and reputation. Toyota’s brand, which is rated by consumers as “great value,” rose 11 percent to $24.1 billion.

The BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands study is the only valuation in the world that takes into account what people think about the brands they buy alongside rigorous analysis of financial data, market valuations, analyst reports and risk profiles. The research report, which is available online, includes a ranking and analysis of the Top 10 most valuable brands for key regions of the world and 13 market sectors. Download the complete BrandZ ranking, including regional and category breakdowns.  The rankings and a great deal more are also available as a free application for the iPhone, iPad, Nokia, BlackBerry and Android  from


Christa Conte / Savannah Tikotsky
212-808-4902 / 212-808-4903
Notes to Editors

Web Site:

U.S. General Public Gives Corporate America’s Most Visible Companies Higher Ratings Overall; Largest Number of Individual Companies Rank ‘Excellent’ in 12-year History of RQ Study

After falling to unforeseen lows amidst scandals, recalls and self-inflicted demonization economic crises, the American public’s positive perception of the reputation of corporate America is on the rise. Overall corporate reputation is experiencing rehabilitation as the American public gives high marks overall to corporate America, specific industries, and the largest number of individual companies in a dozen years. This, according to the findings of the 2011 Harris Interactive RQ Study, which measures the reputations of the 60 Most Visible Companies in the U.S.  This is the 12th year for the study, established in 1999.

To view the multimedia assets associated with this release, please click:

Of the 20 notable changes in reputation among the 54 companies measured in both 2010 and 2011, 18 had significant positive increases, compared to only two declines. An astounding 16 companies received an RQ score over 80, which is considered to be an “Excellent” reputation, a sharp increase from the six companies so recognized in the 2010 survey.

Google ranked highest, supplanting Berkshire Hathaway, which falls to the 4th position. Johnson & Johnson ranked second again, followed by 3M Company at 3rd. Apple continues a steady rise begun in 2002, ranking 5th, as its corporate reputation catches up with its elite brand status.

Robert Fronk, Senior Vice President, Global Practice Lead, Reputation Management at Harris Interactive, stated, “The record 16 companies that received RQ scores reflective of an excellent reputation should all be lauded for their focus and commitment to reputation management. These companies recognize that it is this behavioral commitment that earns them reputation equity, not tactics designed to help them score well on lists like these.”

Google Vice President of Consumer Marketing Gary Briggs reacted to the news. “We have always believed that if we focus on making the best products for our users all else will follow. We’re honored to be recognized in this ranking and we will continue to put our users first.”

Tech Looms Large

The technology sector continues to be perceived most positively, with 75% giving the sector a positive rating, versus the number two sector, retail, which fares at 57% positive. Technology/Internet and Consumer Goods companies dominate the top rankings, with top 10 finishers 3M, Apple, and benefitting from being associated with both industries.

“These top-scoring companies are seen as supporting the infrastructure of the lives of the American public,” says Robert Fronk, “and they get credit for simplifying, delighting, or enriching people’s lives.”

Facebook is a newcomer to the RQ Most Visible List, debuting in the middle of the pack (ranked 31st) with a RQ score of 74.12.

Auto Industry Shines

The auto industry had a significant increase in positive perceptions, jumping 15 points from 2010, the largest year-over-year gain by any industry in the study’s 12-year history.

All three domestic auto companies demonstrate positive momentum compared to 2010 and were among the ten most improved companies in the study. Building on its progress from last year, Ford improved its RQ score to 74.61, from 69.77. Ford is the second highest ranked car company, following Honda, which maintained its consistently high rating. Toyota ranks third among automakers but suffered a RQ decline of 9.96 points. GM and Chrysler achieved the 3rd and 4th highest gains in 2011.

Stabilizing but Still Struggling

Financial services firms and oil companies continue to populate the bottom of the rankings. AIG came in last position, with newcomer BP just edging above in the 59th position.  Goldman Sachs and Citigroup filled the remaining 2 slots in the bottom four. These four lowest rated companies were also rated lowest on the reputation characteristics of “being trusted to do the right thing” and “having high ethical standards”.

Following are some additional findings of interest:

  • The top 10 companies on this year’s list in order of ranking include: 1) Google; 2) Johnson & Johnson; 3) 3M Company; 4) Berkshire Hathaway; 5) Apple; 6) Intel Corporation; 7) Kraft Foods; 8); 9) General Mills; 10) The Walt Disney Company.  For a full list of the top 60 companies and other findings visit:
  • In addition to the top 10, 6 other companies received scores indicating they have an excellent reputation level. Those additional companies are: Proctor and Gamble Co., SC Johnson, UPS, Sony, The Coca-Cola Company, and Microsoft.
  • The bottom 10 companies on this year’s list in order of ranking include: 51.) Delta Airlines; 52) JP Morgan Chase; 53) Exxon Mobil; 54) General Motors; 55) Bank of America; 56) Chrysler; 57) Citigroup; 58) Goldman Sachs; 59) BP; 60) AIG.
  • There are six reputational dimensions that the RQ survey focuses on that influence reputation and consumer behavior. Below are the six dimensions along with the five corporations that ranked highest within each:
    • Social Responsibility – 1) Whole Foods Market; 2) Johnson & Johnson; 3) Google; 4) The Walt Disney Company; 5) Procter & Gamble Co.
    • Emotional Appeal – 1) Johnson & Johnson; 2); 3) UPS; 4) General Mills; 5) Kraft Foods
    • Financial Performance – 1) Google; 2) Berkshire Hathaway; 3) Apple; 4) Intel; 5) The Walt Disney Company
    • Products & Services – 1) Intel Corporation; 2) 3M Company; 3) Johnson & Johnson; 4) Google; 5) Procter & Gamble Co.
    • Vision & Leadership – 1) Berkshire Hathaway; 2) Google; 3) Apple; 4) Intel Corporation; 5) The Walt Disney Company
    • Workplace Environment – 1) Google; 2) Johnson & Johnson; 3) Apple; 4) Berkshire Hathaway; 5) 3M Company

Additional Information

To review selected research from the 2011 Harris Interactive RQ survey, please visit

Reputation Quotient Methodology

In its 12th consecutive year, The Annual RQ surveys more than 30,000 members of the American general public, utilizing its proprietary Harris Poll online panel. Respondents are first asked to identify the 60 most visible companies and then surveyed to rate these companies based on their reputation on 20 different attributes that comprise the RQ instrument.  The attributes are then grouped into six different reputation dimensions: Emotional Appeal, Products & Services, Social Responsibility, Vision & Leadership, Workplace Environment, and Financial Performance. In addition to the 20 attributes, the study includes a number of reputation-related questions that help provide a comprehensive understanding of public perceptions.  The 2011 RQ survey was conducted from December 30, 2010 to February 22, 2011.

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what’s next. For more information, please visit

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