Coca-Cola ranks as the No. 1 most valuable global beverage brand at $74.3 billion, according to the annual BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands study by Millward Brown, New York City. Following Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, which also encompasses Coca-Cola Light and Coca-Cola Zero brands, was the No. 2 most valuable global soft drink brand followed by Pepsi.

Rounding out the rest of the Top 10 “movers and shakers” in the soft drink category were Red Bull, Fanta, Sprite, Gatorade, Mountain Dew, Diet Pepsi and Dr Pepper. According to the study, both The Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo described their soft drinks as sparkling instead of carbonated to denote healthier connotations. Additionally, in 2011 The Coca-Cola Co. launched campaigns to celebrate its 125th anniversary, while PepsiCo upped its marketing investment in Pepsi with multiple campaigns and commercials.

Within the beer category, Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Bud Light topped the list with a brand value of $8.4 billion, ranking just above Budweiser with a brand value of $7.5 billion. Heineken, Corona, Skol, Stella Artois, Guinness, Brahma, Miller Lite and Beck’s make up the remaining spots of Millward Brown’s Top 10 “movers and shakers” in the beer category. Seeking faster growth and less regulation, the major brewers focused much attention on Brazil, Russia, India, China and other fast-growing markets. They also increased their use of social media to promote their brands, the study notes.

On the retail side, Walmart topped the list of most valuable retailers at $34.4 billion, followed closely by Amazon at $34.1 billion. The study also broke out companies according to value increases. Starbucks landed at No. 5 on this list with a 43 percent increase in brand value.

The study, commissioned by WPP and conducted by Millward Brown Optimor, identifies and ranks the world's most valuable brands by dollar value, an analysis based on financial data, market intelligence and consumer measures of brand equity. The 2012 BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands ranking demonstrates the power of strong brands as both a driver of new business growth and a critical support in hard times, it says.

"Brands are an insurance policy for businesses," said Eileen Campbell, global chief executive officer of Millward Brown, in a statement. "Despite a prolonged period of economic stress, political uncertainty and natural disasters that buffeted brands across many categories, the value of the world's leading brands keeps rising across many categories, sustaining and nurturing businesses."

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