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Google named highest regarded brand in UK

British business has been urged to “hold its marketing nerve” – and budgets – amid growing concern that advertising spending will be cut in an economic downturn.

The call came on Monday from Superbrands, a brand analysis organisation, as it disclosed that Google had overtaken the BBC, Microsoft and British Airways to become the most highly regarded business brand in the UK.

“It’s times like this that investment in building engagement, trust and loyalty with a customer base really gets the successful businesses through difficulties caused by wider economic problems,” said Stephen Cheliotis, chairman of the Superbrands council.

“The next year will put even the strongest brands to the test,” he added.

The warning follows last month’s figures from the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising showing that British companies had made their deepest cuts to advertising budgets for almost two years in the last three months of 2007.

The IPA has launched a campaign to persuade companies not to slash marketing budgets, sending a book arguing that advertising is money well spent to analysts and investors.

Superbrands’ annual table of the top 500 business brands found that Google had jumped four places to the top slot, followed by Microsoft in second position, BP at number three and the BBC in fourth place.

Media companies performed better than many industrial brands – the Financial Times jumped from the eighteenth to the seventh slot, and Reuters rose two places to number 13

Despite falls in the rankings for British Airways and the BBC, brands with UK origins and a long heritage fared better than many newer international brands. Google was the only brand in the top 50 to have been launched since 1990, other than Ebay at number 43.

The table is compiled by surveying 1,500 professionals using a list of 1,300 brands.

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