Corporate Eye

Apple and Google Top Landor Associates’ 2009 Breakaway Brands List

Landor Associates and Daily Finance released their annual  list of the top ‘breakaway brands’ of 2009 this week.  According to the Landor Associates press release, the list was compiled using “data from Young & Rubicam Brands’ BrandAsset® Valuator (BAV), the world’s largest and most enduring consumer-based study of brands, to identify those with the most sustained growth in U.S. brand strength over the past three years.”  The study only included well-known brands and excluded non-profit brands.

It’s no surprise that Apple and Google took the top two spots, in that order.  Google’s gain in brand strength from 2008 to 2009 was just 1% (showing consistency) while Apple saw a 13% gain during the same period.

The big gainers in the list were Payless ShoeSource with a 39% gain over 2008 and Special K with a 27% gain.  The complete list of the top 10 breakaway brands according to Landor Associates is below.


Approximately 2,500 brands were evaluated in creating the list, and those that made the top 10 were cited as being capable of consistently growing brand value and keeping up with changing consumer attitudes and trends.

Landor identified three primary trends that the brands in the top 10 leveraged to get where they are today:

  • Greater focus on “healthy eating habits and going green”
  • The “ever-evolving desire for a digital existence”
  • Leveraging “a powerful female population”

Based on those trends, it’s hard to understand what Haagen-Dazs, an expensive, particularly fattening ice cream, is doing on this list.  I’d be curious to hear the back story on how that brand stole the third spot on this list.

What do you think of Landor Associates’ list?  Any brands surprise you?

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.