Virgin, Philips and DaimlerChrysler are among the companies whose reputations are being eroded, according to research among 1,236 European consumers.
In DaimlerChrysler's case, the tumultuous events of the past two years led to more than 40 per cent of those questioned to conclude that the brand had weakened.
One obvious conclusion is that marketers still have a way to go in convincing the accountants that brands need constant underpinning and shouldn't be the first victim in a recession. Another is that companies and their brands have become almost synonymous. Brand strength is vital not just in selling product but in sustaining investor confidence and attracting the brightest talent. Great and consistent advertising can't do this alone, but its role is vital.