in a year of losses, they’re building market share, upending their industries, and changing consumers’ lives. Yes, I’m talking about those companies who have surpassed industry expectations and have done a wonderful job in the current financial turmoil. In the words of strategy guru, Gary Hamel – “There’s no standing still; Influence is like water, always flowing somewhere“.

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Going forward with Gary Hamel’s words, this year, BusinessWeek has put together a list of the 10 companies it believes are the most influential in the world. Though, it’s not a scientific research of any sorts but a 14-member advisory board which made the selections. But still it’s worth a read.

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What’s more interesting is that BusinessWeek acknowledges companies that have successfully engaged their customers using social media. So as the old Korean proverb goes – “Power lasts 10 years but influence a 100 years“. So the impact of Social Media and its influence can’t be written off as of now IMHO. It is a new way of engaging your disengaged customers who are already overwhelmed by the recent financial debacle. But surely effective use of Social Media can change things. Being a Social Media evangelist, I may sound very optimistic about its positive repurcussions but surely we just can’t write it off as of now. At least, those 10 companies haven’t.

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An excerpt from the article:

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The core characteristics of influence are unchanged, whether it’s inspiring a loyal following, spawning big ideas, or building up mammoth market share. What has changed is how players achieve it. A company’s physical assets are less important now than the force of its ideas. In the age of blogging and instant communication, consumers are less the recipients of corporate influence than powerful actors who help shape it. “We’re coming to realize a brand is not just what the manufacturer says it is,” says Shelly Lazarus, chairman and CEO of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, “but everything that the consumer or the customer experiences.”

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Here is the list of 10 most influential companies (not rankwise):

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1. Apple

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Location: Cupertino, California
Industry: Information Technology
Annual Sales: $24 billion

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2. Unilever

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Location: London
Industry: Consumer Products
Annual Sales: $52 billion

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3. JPMorgan Chase

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Location: New York
Industry: Banking
Annual Sales: $64.5 billion

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4. Wal-Mart

Location: Bentonville, Ark.
Industry: Retailing
Annual Sales: $379 billion

5. News Corp.

Location: New York
Industry: Media
Annual Sales: $33 billion

6. Toyota

Location: Aichi, Japan
Industry: Automobiles
Annual Sales: $283 billion

7. Saudi Aramco

Location: Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
Industry: Energy/Oil
Annual Sales: $210 billion (est.)

8. Monsanto

Location: St. Louis
Industry: Food Products
Annual Sales: $8.6 billion

9. Huawei

Location: Shenzhen, China
Industry: Information Technology
Annual Sales: $12.6 billion

10. Google

Location: Mountain View, California
Industry: Information Technology
Annual Sales: $16.6 billion

And More Here

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