Apple, Coca-Cola and Singapore Airlines have been named among the world’s most admired companies, according to Fortune Magazine and Hay Group.
In their 15th annual study of the world’s most admired companies, Apple took out the top spot, followed by Google, Amazon, Coca-Cola, IBM, FedEx, Berkshire Hathaway and Starbucks.
Rounding out the top 10 were Procter & Gamble and Southwest Airlines.
While many of these companies are multinationals with no likeness to start-ups, others have been built from the ground up, becoming successful as a result of their founders’ vision.
Regardless of their foundation, here are three start-up lessons to take away from this year’s list:
1. Coming back from the brink
A lot of the companies on this year’s list have suffered setbacks, including Apple, which last year lost its founding visionary Steve Jobs, with questions swirling around the company’s future.
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But under the guidance of new chief executive Tim Cook, Apple continues to prosper, recently releasing the new iPad, which, by all accounts, is proving just as popular as its predecessors.
Similarly, Howard Schultz, who returned to Starbucks in 2008, has restored the iconic company he founded and has taken it to new heights, posting record revenue and profits.
2. Knowing when to innovate
Beverage giant Coca-Cola leads the industry in market share despite sales of its original brand having slowed in North America. So what’s its secret?
Despite the worldwide penetration of its signature product, Coca-Colas has expanded its reach to include still beverage brands, including Powerade and Gold Peak Tea.
Procter & Gamble has also had to make changes to adjust to a challenging consumer market – it is up against slow growth in developed markets.
To offset those problems, P&G is cutting jobs and will continue to focus on growing its businesses overseas, which account for 80% of the company’s sales growth.
It is also gearing up for the 2012 summer Olympics, with an accompanying marketing push that it predicts will bring in $500 million in incremental sales.
3. Maintaining brand loyalty
In this day and age, ultra low prices aren’t enough to get you by. In fact, if you fail to offer any other point of difference, low prices could be your downfall.
Singapore Airlines, which made the list at number 23, is perceived as a trustworthy company because of its enduring commitment to customer loyalty.
The airline makes a concerted effort to stay in touch with customers through in-flight surveys, customer focus groups and rapid reply to every compliment or complaint it receives.
Frequent flyers are especially well connected with special messages, offers and publications sent out regularly.