Apple has overtaken Google as the world’s most valuable brand, ending a four-year reign by the Internet search leader, according to a new study by global brands agency Millward Brown.
The iPhone and iPad maker’s brand is now worth US$153 billion, almost half Apple’s market capitalization, the annual BrandZ study of the world’s top 100 brands says.
Apple’s portfolio of coveted consumer goods propelled it past Microsoft to become the world’s most valuable technology company last year.
Peter Walshe, global brands director of Millward Brown, says Apple’s meticulous attention to detail, along with an increasing presence of its gadgets in corporate environments, have allowed it to behave differently from other consumer-electronics makers.
“Apple is breaking the rules in terms of its pricing model,” he said by telephone. “It’s doing what luxury brands do, where the higher price the brand is, the more it seems to underpin and reinforce the desire.”
“Obviously, it has to be allied to great products and a great experience, and Apple has nurtured that,” he said.
Of the top 10 brands in yesterday’s report, six were technology and telecommunications firms: Google at No. 2, IBM at No. 3, Microsoft at No. 5, AT&T at No. 7 and China Mobile (中國移動通信) at No. 9.
McDonald’s rose two places to No. 4, as fast food became the fastest growing category, Coca-Cola slipped one place to No. 6, while Marlboro was also down one to No. 8 and General Electric was No. 10.
Walshe said demand from China was a major factor in the rise of fast-food brands.
“The Chinese have been discovering fast food and it’s such a vast market — Starbucks, McDonald’s ... and pizza has hit China,” he said.
“The way McDonald’s has reinvented itself, adapted its menus, added healthy options, expanding the times of day it can be visited, for example oatmeal for breakfast ... that allied with growth in developing markets has really helped that brand,” he said.
Nineteen of the top 100 brands came from emerging markets, up from 13 last year. Facebook entered the top 100 at No. 35 with a brand valued at US$19.1 billion, while Chinese search engine Baidu (百度) rose to No. 29 from No. 46.
Toyota reclaimed its position as the world’s most valuable car brand, as it recovered from a bungled product recall last year. The survey was carried out before the March earthquake.
The total value of the top 100 brands rose by 17 percent to US$2.4 trillion, as the global economy shifted to growth.
Millward Brown takes as a starting point the value that companies put on their own main brands as intangibles in their earnings reports. It combines that with the perceptions of more than 2 million consumers in relevant markets around the world whom it surveys over the course of the year, and then applies a multiple derived from the company’s short-term future growth prospects.