'Brand power' can mean more than just an infomercial for cleaning products; it can be a measurement of how successful a business is too. Every year, American firm CoreBrand tries to quantify ‘brand power’, and compiles an extensive list of the world’s most powerful brands.

In ranking 800 top brands, the list considers financial results, gauging performance and communications investment, and industry opinion. 8,000 phone interviews with senior American businessmen (VP and above) are conducted, quizzing respondents on brand familiarity, favorability, and reputation.

The Brand Power rankings for 2010 have just been released, and Coca–Cola maintained its historical dominance of the index, with other huge names Hershey, Johnson & Johnson and Kellogg not lagging far behind.

The brands you can hold in your hand stay strong

Johnson & Johnson dropped 2 places to 4th, possibly thanks to a series of product recalls that made headlines across America. Kellogg proved that humans’ hunger for cardboard cereal isn’t going anywhere, with steady year–on–year improvement in the rankings.

Starbucks sponsored cardboard, however, was not so popular. The coffee continued its descent down the rankings, falling to 23rd from a high of 9th place, with mismanagement and store closures probably to blame.

In a bizarre Marketing mag­–noted twist, Yahoo (50) trumped Google (73), perhaps showing senior business leaders still aren’t up with the program, or perhaps exposing a global marketing press’ excessive obsession with all things digital.

CoreBrand explains this anomaly as a “tricky” part of the indexing, as well-known, older brands can rank higher than seemingly more popular competitors because they still have high familiarity ratings with respondents (eg; Microsoft outranked Apple).

“The key to understanding the CoreBrand Brand Power rankings is not to obsess on the finite ranking,” CoreBrand’s James Gregory explains, “but to look at the trend of the brand in comparison to the trend of others in the category.”

The 2010 CoreBrand Brand Power Rankings