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Banks rank among Canada's most valuable brands, RBC tops the list

TORONTO - Canada's banks are its most valuable corporate brands, with Royal Bank (TSX:RY) at the very top, according to an annual list from business consultancy Brand Finance and Report on Business Magazine.

The Top 100 Canadian Brands ranking put Royal Bank's brand value at just over US$11 billion, up from US$10.28 billion last year when it came in second.

TD Bank (TSX:TD), last year's first-place finisher, was second on the list this year, coming in at US$10.85 billion.

Rounding out the top five were Scotiabank (TSX:BNS) at US$7.7 billion, Bank of Montreal (TSX:BMO) at US$7.1 billion and Bell (TSX:BCE) at US$7.08 billion.

All three had the same rankings a year ago, said Brand Finance, which calculates brand value by determining the royalties a company would have to pay to license its brand if it did not already own it.

The biggest gainers this year were Desjardins, Manulife Financial Corp. (TSX:MFC) and convenience chain Circle K, the U.S. fuel and convenience store chain owned by Alimentation Couche-Tard (TSX:ATD.B), all of which made brand-value gains of 40 per cent.

Barrick Gold (TSX:ABX) showed the largest loss of brand value as a result of its organizational challenges, dropping to No. 92 from No. 38 as its brand value plunged from US$1.4 billion to US$405 million.

Also among those not doing so well this year in the rankings was smartphone-maker BlackBerry (TSX:BB), whose brand value dropped by US$1 billion to US$1.04 billion, knocking it down to No. 46 on the list from No. 19 last year. BlackBerry has been losing market share to Apple and its iPhones, as well as devices that use the Android operating system.

"Even though the company continues to retain high brand positives such as awareness and differentiation with physical keyboards, the brand still has not demonstrated an ability to recover revenues substantially enough in the foreseeable future," the survey said.

Vancouver's Lululemon Athletica Inc. fell to No. 32 from last year's 27, as it suffered some recent setbacks, including its handling of a problem with its black Luon pants, where the fabric was sometimes so thin it made the pants see-through.

Its biggest public relations misstep came in November, when founder Chip Wilson suggested to Bloomberg TV that Lululemon's yoga pants just didn't work well for some women's bodies.

"Lululemon’s challenges over the past year are a testament to how critical it is for management to understand the table stakes for their brand and who leads the positive (or negative) conversation about the brand in the marketplace," said Edgar Baum, Toronto-based managing director of Brand Finance North America.

Brand Finance is an independent global business adviser with offices in more than 15 countries.

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Top 10 Most Valuable Brands in Canada in 2014, according to Brand Finance Canada

1. Royal Bank of Canada

2. Toronto-Dominion Bank

3. Scotiabank

4. Bank of Montreal

5. Bell

6. CIBC

7. Rogers Communications

8. Telus

9. Enbridge

10. Bombardier

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