Monday, May 9, 2011

Apple Beats Google in Most Valuable Brand Survey

With an 859 percent rise in value since 2006, Apple has taken Google's crown as the most valuable brand. At a valuation of $153.3 billion, Apple is well ahead of number-two Google at $111.5 billion and number-three IBM at $100.9 billion. An analyst called Apple "the best marketing company," and said Google doesn't know how to promote itself.

Move over, Google. Apple has taken away your MVB (most valuable brand) crown. Apple officially bumped the search giant after four consecutive years atop the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands study.

Apple registered a whopping 84 percent increase in value over the past year. (Can you say iPad Relevant Products/Services?) Millward Brown Optimor, a WPP company that calculates brand equity, reports Apple increased in value 859 percent since 2006 and now stands at $153.3 billion.

"The importance of brand for global Relevant Products/Services business Relevant Products/Services success is becoming increasingly significant," said David Roth at WPP. "In the last year, the global economy shifted from recovery to real growth, the combined value of all brands in the Top 100 ranking has risen by 64 percent since 2006, and is now worth $2.4 trillion. Strong brands, while not immune to the vicissitudes of the market, are more protected, prepared, resourceful and resilient."

Tech Giants Rule

Technology brands make up one-third of the Top 100 brands. While Apple leads the ranking, Google came in second with a brand value of $111.5 billion and IBM ranked third at $100.9 billion.

Facebook made its debut in the Top 100 ranking this year at number 35 with the highest increase in brand value, 246 percent. That makes the Facebook brand worth $19.1 billion. Online retailer also edged past Walmart to become the number-one retail brand and 14th overall with a 37 percent rise in brand value to $37.6 billion.

"Google has been flat over the past decade. Apple has been on a near-vertical hike for those same years. It kind of surprises me that it took this long for the brand equity to catch up. There was no doubt that after Apple passed Microsoft financially that they would pass Google in terms of brand equity," said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.

While Apple is leading its market segment worldwide in terms of mindshare, Google doesn't have a true product position and the company's emphasis on free tends to work against brand value and equity, Enderle said. What's more, Google's brand has taken a number of privacy hits.

"Apple aggressively messages its brand and invests in it. Google doesn't. The irony is that Google makes most of its money out of advertising, but doesn't seem to know how to advertise," Enderle said. "Apple is the best marketing company in or outside of tech during the past decade, so you would think that would equate into a much stronger brand, and of course it does."

Beyond High Tech

Beyond technology Relevant Products/Services, Coca-Cola, GE and McDonald's stand out as brands that have survived for more than 50 years. Fast food led the sector growth at 22 percent, followed by luxury (19 percent) and technology (18 percent). The oil and gas sector experienced the slowest rate of growth (one percent).

And despite recalls, Toyota reclaimed its position as the most valuable car brand, demonstrating the power of strong brands to recover from the most fundamental challenges to product efficacy and reputation. Toyota's brand, which is rated by consumers as "great value," rose 11 percent to $24.1 billion.

"Our brand valuations are a powerful measure of an organization's ability to create real and lasting value for shareholders." said Eileen Campbell, CEO of Millward Brown. "By nurturing its brand and constantly innovating, Apple is able to command a high price premium and weather economic turbulence, providing a global business success story that other brands can learn from."

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