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Top 10 Iconic American Businesses

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Since it has the world's largest national economy, it's not surprising that the United States of America is behind so many of the biggest businesses in the world. And some of these companies strongly identify with the country for various reasons. For this list, we’ve chosen companies that best represent America, have financially outperformed their competitors, and whose brand and business resonate with consumers and industry insiders alike. In this video, we count down our picks for the top 10 iconic American businesses.

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These American businesses have stood the test of time and are positioned to dominate in the 21st century. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 iconic American businesses.

We’ve chosen companies that best represent America, have financially outperformed their competitors, and whose brand and business resonate with consumers and industry insiders alike.

#10 – The Procter & Gamble Company

Better known for its Tide and Crest brands, P&G is a market leader in every country in which it operates. Since 1837, the company has launched or acquired products that have fueled profits and market share. Ranging from personal care items to cleaning agents, over-the-counter medications to pet foods, Cincinnati-based P&G has also stocked other corporations with leaders.

#9 – Starbucks Corporation

It went from a local Seattle coffee bean roaster and retailer to one of the world’s largest coffeehouse companies in under 30 years. If you’re looking for a friendly and comfortable place to enjoy high quality coffee, hot or cold beverages and/or tasty snacks, look no further than Starbucks.

#8 – Google Inc.

Deriving over half of its revenues globally, Google began as a project between two Stanford Ph.D. students. Within two decades, it emerged as a financial powerhouse as well as the leading Internet company of all-time, and has leveraged that dominance with a foray into mobile.

#7 – General Electric Company

This company’s appliances have found homes in kitchens and bathrooms for decades. But by bringing “good things to life,” GE has since imagined and developed countless modern and innovative products beyond the home. Over a century after its foundation, the multinational conglomerate corporation now has multiple subsidiaries and divisions dealing with financial services, energy, technology infrastructure and home and business solutions.

#6 – Nike, Inc.

There are few American companies as synonymous with footwear, sports apparel and equipment as Nike. With its diverse line of shoes for athletes of all kinds, training products and clothing, the multinational corporation has built itself into the sports business’ most valuable brand. Thanks to memorable advertising and marketing campaigns, Nike’s signature swoosh logo and “Just Do It” slogan have also been associated with many prominent international sports stars, which has given it an unparalleled amount of goodwill with global consumers.

#5 – Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

Of the three companies that have topped the Fortune 500 since the list was launched in 1955, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart is the only one that cracked our list based on our criteria. Despite having its share of critics, Wal-Mart has endeared itself with its “always low prices, always.”

#4 – Apple Inc.

With its line of computers, software and consumer electronics, Apple’s gross revenues and profit margins helped it briefly overtake Exxon Mobil as the world's most valuable company. Apple counts one of the most passionate and loyal consumer bases of any company, as was evidenced by the outpouring of emotion when co-founder Steve Jobs passed away.

#3 – The Walt Disney Company

Brothers Walt and Roy Disney created Mickey Mouse shortly after launching their Cartoon Studio in the 1920s in L.A. They’ve since shaped the animation industry with some of history’s most beloved films. Since then, the company’s expanded its reach into television, music, live-action projects and the web. By adding merchandising and international theme parks to the mix, the world’s largest media conglomerate is still making dreams come true.

#2 – McDonald's

It didn’t take long after its first franchise opened in Illinois for McDonald’s to become the world’s largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants. Since 1955, the corporation defined and refined fast food with its burgers, fries and various other products. With its advertising campaigns and golden arches, Micky D’s has become a symbol of the globalization of the American food industry. And thanks its adaptability to recent trends, it remains relevant today.

#1 – The Coca Cola Company

This bubbly, caramel-colored soft drink was originally marketed as medicine in the late 1800s. The delicious and refreshing beverage’s popularity grew so quickly it was considered an American icon in less than 50 years. Though its formula remains a secret to this day, Coke’s sweet taste is now known the world over thanks to the company’s clever advertising strategies and the Coca-Colanization of pop culture.

Do you agree with our list? Which company do you think is the most iconic American business? Be sure to subscribe to for more entertaining top 10s.

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