The World’s Greatest Brands: 2013 Edition

Welcome back, dear readers! We hope everyone had a great holiday and survived the crazy season in one piece despite hectic travel schedules, extended visits with the in-laws and borderline alcoholism.

The first of the many, many stories we accumulated over the break is an interesting one: a list of 2013’s 27 “World Champions” of the global branding game, brought to us by Citi and Business Insider.

According to Citi, these 27 brands have beaten all others when it comes to creating “significant and enduring business models over the long term”–and we covered quite a few of them in 2012. Our thoughts on some of the winners after the jump: – Despite our desire to help out “the little guy”, Amazon retains its seat atop the retail flock, replacing the world’s vanishing supply of bookstores with a system that is way too convenient to go away anytime soon. Will new features like brand pages help make Amazon even more popular? We’re not sure—but we can’t see anyone else coming close to its market share.

Carnival Cruise Lines – This year Carnival gave us all a lesson in effective damage control. When a company can emerge from its industry’s worst possible PR crisis intact, you know somebody’s doing something right.

eBay – After a challenging period that saw its star dim a bit, the world’s “leading online marketplace” appears to have scored a re-branding win.

Harley Davidson – Harley’s unimpeachable reputation as the go-to bike brand reveals that the act of creating a truly resilient name is not just a marketing department’s fever dream—with the right combination of work and luck, it can become a reality.

Inditex – We said it; Zara truly changed the fashion world. And with an “acceleration in store openings and exceptional growth in Asia”, parent company Inditex looks to be the biggest name in affordable fashion for the foreseeable future. Lesson learned? Listen to the public and give them what they want—they’ll reward you.

Nike – Despite losing one of its biggest promo names in Lance Armstrong, Nike remains untouchable in the footwear/athletic wear market. As Spike Lee told us when discussing the creation of the classic Air Jordan campaign, sometimes it is possible to catch lightning in a bottle.

Starbucks – Millions of Americans may still be financially unstable and politically frustrated after nearly five years of exasperatingly slow economic growth, but Starbucks keeps chugging along, even when they debut ridiculously expensive new products or forget crucial ingredients like soy milk and whatever they use to make those delicious pumpkin spice lattes. Bottom line: The Western world loves its coffee, and despite Dunkin’ Donuts claims to the contrary, no one feeds that need better than the folks in green. Sure, we’ll come together…for that sweet, sweet caffeine.

What do we think of this list, readers? Any disagreements? Additions?

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