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15 Brands Worth Investing In

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15 Brands Worth Investing In

Investing is a risky business. Some companies succeed while others fail. But there are also some really strong companies out there with highly valued brands which are growing year by year and multiplying their profit. Interbrand made a list of the most valuable brands in the world for 2014. While evaluating them, Interbrand considered financial performance of branded products, ability to influence consumer’s behavior, and the prestige allowing them to charge premium prices and secure their future earnings. So, are you wondering what kind of investment could make you a millionaire? Hint: Tech companies are on the rise. Let’s have a look at the world’s most valued brands, the brands worth investing in:

H&M +16%

Brand value: $ 21,083 m

H&M’s expansion and growth is remarkable. The company increased new store openings by 10-15% every year, and this year is opening 375 stores, mostly in China and the US. Their online presence is expanding with HM.com, which is serving customers in parts of the US and Europe. H&M is now on the way to being both a respected fashion brand and cost-efficient. It is socially conscious and was honored for its values and ethical practices, named as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies in 2014. It was also ranked as #1 for using certified organic cotton around the globe.

Honda +17%

Brand value: $ 21,673 m

Honda’s Japanese cars and motorcycles are coming back to Formula 1 after 20 years out as an engine supplier for McLaren. This effort should differentiate Honda in the automotive industry and speed its growth. Their marketing campaign, “Sound of Honda/Ayrton Senna 1989,” won a Grand Prix at Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. The F1 race calendar is full of contestants in emerging countries, which are already big markets for Honda.

Oracle +8%

Brand value: $ 25,980 m

After 10 years of expansions and around 100 acquired companies that led to complex end-to-end back office solutions, Oracle decided to take a break. The new challenge facing the company is how to define itself and find its purpose. Marketing communications are focused on simplicity. Oracle is ensuring integrated experience for all businesses and compliance of its software for cloud computing.

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Amazon +25%

Brand value: $ 29,487 m

Amazon is considered to be one of the most approachable and accessible companies. Its focus on consumer satisfaction might be the key of their huge success. Their core business Amazon Prime is still growing and new extensions of their products such as Kindle Paperwhite and Fire Phone are bringing new customers. Amazon did not stop there and made one more step to “wow” them. Thanks to cooperation with Federal Aviation Administration, Amazon’s customers can use their devices while taking off and landing of a plane.

Cisco +6%

Brand value: $ 30,936 m

Connecting the previously unconnected, Cisco is another tech company which plays it well. Cisco wants to grow their presence in global marketplace, from IP phones used in offices to home network equipment to advertising and promotion events. Remarkable also is its speed-to-market, which increased from 3-5 years to only 12-18 months. Brand value is definitely influenced by the strong marketing Cisco is running – 20% of the company’s revenues are dedicated solely to marketing and sales activities.

Disney +14%

Brand value: $ 32,223 m

Disney is creative and innovative in its use of technology and its approach to global growth. Strategy based on these areas made Disney one of the most valued brands in the world this year. This 91-year-old company is not afraid to use new technology to analyze customers’ needs and personalize their experience. Disney started to cooperate with Jack Dorsey, Chairman of Twitter, and announced an exclusive deal with Marvel Programming for Netflix. It also acquired the YouTube network Maker Studios. The huge success of Frozen opened new doors and opportunities, and Russia and China now belong to the largest markets for Disney movies.

BMW +7%

Brand value: $ 34,214 m

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BMW is keeping their leading position among best-in-class automotive brands. Ongoing activities aiming to create a sustainable future for mobility, such as the Efficient Dynamics initiative, are continually increasing BMW’s brand value. The company is fueled by innovation and is currently developing solutions to lower carbon emissions across the brand’s range. Besides that, it is the consistent communication and strategy clarity which drives BMW to be one of the most successful brands around the globe.

Mercedes Benz +8%

Brand value: $ 34,338 m

Not a BMW person? Mercedes Benz is another automotive company that is in the top 20 brands according to Interbrand. New models and fresh attitude towards their brand strategy brought record sales – in the previous year Mercedes Benz increased their financial performance by 14% worldwide and 9,5% in the US. Mercedes offers comfort, performance and prestige. Everything that customers expect from them. What’s more, Mercedes is developing new ways for sustainable mobility too, decreasing emissions and using intelligent energy system for hybrid vehicles. Customers are important to the brand and new features aiming to create a premium customer experience are definitely one of the reasons the value of Mercedes Benz is rising.

McDonalds +1%

Brand value: $ 42,254 m

One of the world most successful fast food chains is currently serving more than 70 millions of customers a day in 100 countries. McDonalds lately responded to consumers’ demands and added new healthier alternatives to their classic menu. Besides that, they created strategy to become a more ecological and ethical company. McDonalds’ goal is to purchase only verified and ecologically sustainable beef by 2016 and 100% sustainable palm oil, coffee and fish by 2020. The brand’s challenge nowadays is to create an image of high quality food.

Toyota +20%

Brand value: $ 42,392 m

Toyota is the winning brand among automotive companies for 2014 according to Interbrand. A crisis at the beginning of 2014 and a $1.2bn fine from the US Justice department didn’t stop the ambitious company from increasing its sales and keeping its position as a trustworthy company. High quality products, joyful advertising campaigns (e.g. “Go Fun Yourself”), but also its concern about social problems and untapped female labor force in the brand’s country of origin, are developing their positive image. Worthy to mention is their “Car of the Future,” the first zero emission hydrogen Fuel Cell vehicle, that they showcased at the Aspen Ideas Festival.

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Samsung +15%

Brand value: $ 45,462 m

This high-tech company is a strong player in many segments, currently fighting a battle in the smartphone industry with another giant, Apple. Samsung is developing new products and shaping the world we know with innovations: curved TV, virtual reality headsets, and wearable electronics are new products in their portfolio. The prognosis seems to be positive for Samsung.

Microsoft +3%

Brand value: $ 61,154 m

Big changes happened at Microsoft this year. New CEO Satya Nadella is an expert in company cloud computing, and his arrival signaled a new era for Microsoft. Satya switched from previous “Windows first” strategy to “mobile and cloud first.” Microsoft’s efforts to increase relevance and provide services and products customers want are working well. Cloud computing enterprise Windows Azure, strategically rebranded, and the personal voice assistant Cortana accompany the latest launch of Windows 8.1. The acquisition of the Minecraft company signals Microsoft’s high ambitions in mobile, cloud computing and games industry.

Coca Cola +3%

Brand value: $ 81,563 m

This famous soft drink brand is nowadays challenged by many market changes. Consumers are more conscious about health and Coca Cola is evolving together with their customers. Coca Cola Life, a drink sweetened naturally with stevia, was launched in 2013 in Argentina and Chile, and in 2014 in the US and UK. Ecology is big topic nowadays, and Coca Cola set a goal that by 2020 it will use its PlantBottle technology for all its bottles. In terms of marketing, Coca Cola is one of the role models. Its “Share a Coke” campaign increased its sales by 2%, its Facebook fan base by 25 millions, and servings to 1.9 billion a day.

Google +15%

Brand value: $ 107,439 m

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Google is one of the most ambitious and innovative companies in the world nowadays. Though Google is categorized as a search company, product development has gone far beyond such limited definition. Recently, they started to test self-driving cars and launched Project Loop – a global network of high altitude balloons bringing wi-fi to remote areas. Unfortunately, not every Google project meets success and the prognosis for Google Glass is not so bright anymore. Investments and acquisitions of Google in past years shows that company is interested in robotics, biotechnology, artificial intelligence and wearable technology. It is their vision, bravery and crazy ideas that make Google an outstanding brand.

Apple +21%

Brand value: $ 118, 863 m

The most valuable brand of 2014 according to Interbrand is Apple. The tech giant  introduced Apple Pay this year, a system which is allowing people to pay with their Apple devices, Apple Watch, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus, CarPlay and HomeKit. Apple is making life smarter, from wearable technology to communication over devices at home. This year the company acquired great talents such as Angela Ahrendts (ex-CEO of Burberry), Paul Deneve (ex-CEO of Yves Saint Laurent) and Jay Blahnik (a developer of Nike’s fuel band). Let’s see what ambitious Apple brings next year.

The world’s best companies have some things in common. All of them are taking responsibility for the future they are shaping, in terms of both sustainability and innovation. They create solutions around their customers’ current and future needs. These companies value talent, have a clear vision and are not afraid to invest in marketing. Only brands behaving like these are worthy to investing in.

Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on January 5, 2022

33 Painless Ways to Save Money Now

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33 Painless Ways to Save Money Now

In a difficult economy, most of us are looking for ways to put more money in our pockets, but we don’t want to feel like misers. We don’t want to drastically alter our lifestyles either. We want it fast and we want it easy. Small savings can add up and big savings can feel like winning the lottery, just without all of the taxes.

Some easy ways to save money:

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  1. Online rebate sites. Many online sites offer cash back rebates and online coupons as well. MrRebates and Ebates are two I like, but there are many others.
  2. Sign up for customer rewards. Many of your favorite stores offer customer rewards on products you already buy. Take advantage.
  3. Switch to compact fluorescent bulbs. The extra cost up front is worth the energy savings later on.
  4. Turn off power strips and electronic devices when not in use.
  5. Buy a programmable thermostat. Set it to lower the heat or raise the AC when you’re not home.
  6. Make coffee at home. Those lattes and caramel macchiatos add up to quite a bit of dough over the year.
  7. Switch banks. Shop around for better interest rates, lower fees and better customer perks. Don’t forget to look for free online banking and ease of depositing and withdrawing money.
  8. Clip coupons: Saving a couple dollars here and there can start to add up. As long as you’re going to buy the products anyway, why not save money?
  9. Pack your lunch. Bring your lunch to work with you a few days a week, rather than buy it.
  10. Eat at home. We’re busier than ever, but cooking meals at home is healthier and much cheaper than take-out or going out. Plus, with all of the freezer and pre-made options, it’s almost as fast as drive-thru.
  11. Have leftovers night. Save your leftovers from a few meals and have a “leftover dinner.” It’s a free meal!
  12. Buy store brands: Many generic or store brands are actually just as good as name brands and considerably cheaper.
  13. Ditch bottled water. Drink tap water if it’s good quality, buy a filter if it’s not. Get 
      a reusable water bottle and refill it.
    • Avoid vending machines: The items are usually over-priced.
    • Take in a matinee. Afternoon movie showings are cheaper than evening times.
    • Re-examine your cable bill. Cancel extra cable or satellite channels you don’t watch. Watch the “on demand” movie purchases too.
    • Use online bill pay. Most banks offer free online bill paying. Save on stamps and checks, and avoid late fees by automating bill payment.
    • Buy frequently used items in bulk. You get a lower per item price and eliminate extra trips to the store later on.
    • Fully utilize the library. Borrowing books is much cheaper than buying them, but in addition to books, most local libraries now lend movies and games.
    • Cancel magazine/newspaper subscriptions: Re-evaluate your subscriptions. Cancel those you don’t read and consider reading some of the other publications online.
    • Get rid of your land-line. Do you really need a land-line anymore if everyone in the family has a cell phone? Alternatively, look into using VOIP or getting a cheaper plan.
    • Better fuel efficiency. Check the air pressure in your tires, keep up with proper auto maintenance, and slow down. Driving even 5MPH slower will result in better fuel mileage.
    • Increase your deductibles. Increasing the insurance deductibles on your homeowners and auto insurance policies lowers premiums significantly. Just make sure you choose a deductible that you can afford should an emergency happen.
    • Choose lunch over dinner. If you do want to dine out occasionally, go at lunchtime rather than dinnertime. Lunch prices are usually cheaper.
    • Buy used:  Whether it’s something small like a vintage dress or a video game or something big like a car or furniture, consider buying it used. You can often get “nearly new” for a fraction of the cost.
    • Stick to the list. Make a list before you go shopping and don’t buy anything that’s not on the list unless it’s a once in a lifetime, killer deal.
    • Tame the impulse. Use a self-enforced waiting period whenever you’re tempted to make an unplanned purchase. Wait for a week and see if you still want the item.
    • Don’t be afraid to ask. Ask to have fees waived, ask for a discount, ask for a lower interest rate on your credit card.
    • Repair rather than replace. You can find directions on how to fix almost anything on the internet. Do your homework, and then bring out your inner handyman.
    • Trade with your neighbors. Borrow tools or equipment that you use infrequently and swap things like babysitting with your neighbors.
    • Swap online. Use sites like PaperBack Swap to trade books, music, and movies with others online. Also, look for local community sites like Freecycle where people give away items they no longer need.
    • Cut back on the meat. Try eating a one or two meatless meals every week or cut back on the meat portions. Meat is usually the most expensive part of the meal.
    • Comparison shop: Get in the habit of checking prices before you buy. See if you can get a better price at another store or look online.

    Remember that saving money is not about being cheap or stingy; it’s about putting money into your bank account rather than giving it to someone else. There are many ways to save money, some you’ve never thought of, and some that won’t appeal or apply to you. Just pick a few of the ideas that sound doable and watch the savings add up. Save big, save small, but save wherever you can.

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    Featured photo credit: Damir Spanic via unsplash.com

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