GE, IBM Brand Values Take Big Hits

October 7, 2018 by Douglas A. McIntyre

Interbrand has released its Best Global Brands 2018, the 19th installment of the study. The value of the great majority of the 100 brands rose from a year earlier. The value of a few brands fell, however. These were lead by International Business Machines Corp.’s (NYSE: IBM)  IBM brand and General Electric Co.’s (NYSE: GE) GE brand.

Of all the brands on the Interbrand list, GE lost the most value, down 26% to $33 billion. Its stock price has dropped 43% in the past year. That is an amazing contrast to when GE was the largest conglomerate in the world and one of its most important corporations. GE recently dumped its CEO, who had held the job for only a year. At the same time the new CEO joined, GE said it would need to take a $23 billion write-down for its power services division. All that seems left for GE is to auction off divisions and become a company that is a fraction of its size a generation ago.

IBM has tried to morph into a cloud computing and AI company. The value of the IBM brand dropped 8% to $43 billion. The parent company has pushed a portion of these businesses under a new brand: Watson. This may be a sign that the IBM brand is too old and tarnished by the company’s performance. This has undermined this flagship brand of the very troubled company. The move to the new business sectors has not worked. The company continues to lag larger tech firms in the sector. IBM routinely hurdles press releases into the market as an attempt to promote its progress in cloud computing and AI. The campaigns have been no more successful than the businesses have been.

Several other prominent brands lost value over the past year, according to Interbrand. The value of Coca-Cola dropped 5% to $66 billion. The value of the Oracle brand fell 5% to $26 billion. Zara’s brand valuation fell 5% to $18 billion. The value of Ikea dropped 5% to $17 billion. The value of Gillette dropped 7% to $17 billion. The value of H&M dropped 18% to $17 billion. The value of the eBay brand dropped 2% to $13 billion.

IBM and GE were once among the greatest brands in the history of American business. Those days are over.