More evidence, were it needed, of the profiteering of Britain’s top banks came to light this week in a brand ranking survey from Interbrand in association with BusinessWeek magazine. The review focuses solely on British-owned brands, excluding those in foreign ownership such as Jaguar and Mars.

The study rates the nation’s top brands by calculating the net present value of the earnings the brand is expected to generate in the future – significantly, a formula that reflects the brand-owner’s ability to charge above market prices or make above average profits.

It will surprise no-one, therefore, that the nation’s ‘Top Ten’ by these criteria features no fewer than six banks, led by the less-than-loved Barclays. The non-banking brands that made it into the tensome are Boots, British Gas, Vodafone and Cadbury.

Marks & Spencer, which hitherto featured regularly among the list-toppers, now languished in fourteenth place. But Interbrand’s managing director of brand valuation, Jan Lindemann, has a word of comfort for the battered retailer: “With Marks & Spencer, with a long-established brand, if you have difficulties you may dip, but you have that opportunity to bounce back.”

Lindemann adds: “Retailing, including financial retailing, is a very strong element in the UK economy. Vodafone is, overall, one of the largest brands in mobile telecoms [while] Boots is a unique retailing concept that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world. It controls about half the OTC pharmaceuticals market in the UK. It’s a very well liked, well-established brand.”

“Many of these companies are service focused,” he continued, “so they will have to work hard on their brand delivery through their employees. They have in many cases direct contact with their customers, unlike consumer brands which have to go through distribution channels to reach their end-users.”

Data sourced from: The Times (London); additional content by WARC staff