Google has overtaken Apple to become the world's most valuable global brand in the 2014 BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brand ranking, worth $159bn, an increase of 40% year-on-year.
After three years at the top, Apple slipped to No 2 on the back of a 20% decline in brand value, to $148bn. Whilst Apple remains a top performing brand, there is a growing perception that it is no longer redefining technology for consumers, reflected by a lack of dramatic new product launches. The world's leading B2B brand, IBM, held onto its No 3 position with a brand value of $108bn.
Nick Cooper, MD of Millward Brown Optimor, commented on the number one brand, "Google has been hugely innovative in the last year with Google Glass, investments in artificial intelligence and a multitude of partnerships that see its Android operating system becoming embedded in other goods such as cars. All of this activity sends a very strong signal to consumers about what Google is about and it has coincided with a slowdown at Apple."
"This year's index highlights the end of the recession, with a strong recovery in valuations and, for the first time, real growth across every category and the Top 100 as a whole," said David Roth, CEO of The Store, WPP. "What's remarkable is the way that strong brands have led the recovery. Seventy-one of the brands listed in our 2014 Top 100 were there in 2008. Despite the financial turmoil and the digital disruption that have decimated many businesses during the last few years, these brands have remained in the ranking, proving the durability of strong brands."
The BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands study, commissioned by WPP and conducted by Millward Brown Optimor, is now in its ninth year. It is the only ranking that uses the views of potential and current buyers of a brand, alongside financial data, to calculate brand value.
The combined value of the Top 100 has nearly doubled since the first ranking was produced in 2006. The Top 100 today are worth $2.9trn, an increase of 49% compared with the 2008 valuation, which marked the start of the banking and currency crisis.
The BrandZ Top 10 Most Valuable Global Brands 2014
|Rank 2014||Brand||Category||Brand Value 2014 ($M)||Brand Value Change||Rank 2013|
|1||Google||Technology|| 158,843 ||40%||2|
|3||IBM ||Technology|| 107,541 ||-4%||3|
|4||Microsoft||Technology|| 90,185 ||29%||7|
|6||Coca-Cola||Soft Drinks ||80,683||3%||5|
|9||Marlboro||Tobacco|| 67,341 ||-3%||8|
Key findings highlighted in this year's research report include:
Share of Life: Successful brands such as Google (No 1 brand), Facebook, Twitter, Tencent and LinkedIn are more than just tools, they have become part of our lives. They offer new forms of communication that absorb people's attention and imagination, while also helping them organise the rest of their lives at the same time. To gain more of our mind-space, brands such as Tencent and Google are even crossing categories. This trend also pushed No 1 Apparel brand Nike, a prime example of a brand seeking to become a share of life brand which offers services such as Nike+ that extend well beyond its functional raison d'etre.
Purpose beyond Profit: Brands in business for reasons beyond the bottom line have a better chance of success in today's world. For example, Pampers, which promotes mother and baby health issues, is at No 39 in the ranking and grew its value by 10% to $22.6bn. Another shining example from a consumer perspective of a brand with a high level purpose is MTN. The telecoms operator has continued to find huge success on the back of its "everywhere you go" payoff line, enabling Africa, with a brand value of $10,2bn.
Apparel fastest growing category: The top 10 Apparel brands grew in value by 29% to nearly $100bn this year, outpacing Cars (up 17%) and Retail (up 16%). With brands such as Uniqlo, Nike and Adidas all recording double-digit increases in their valuation.
Technology service companies continue to climb: Not only are the top four brands technology companies, but so to are many of this year's biggest risers. This year's fastest climber was leading Chinese internet brand Tencent, up 97% to $54bn and the No 14 position, followed by Facebook which rose 68% to $36bn and took the No 21 spot. New brands in the Top 100 include Twitter at No 71 with a brand value of $14bn and LinkedIn at No 78 worth $12bn. Collectively, Technology companies make up 29% of the value of the BrandZ Top 100 ranking.
High value brands provide faster growth: An analysis of the BrandZ rankings as a 'stock portfolio' over the last nine years shows a highly favourable performance compared to a wider stock market index, the S&P500. While the value of the companies in the S&P500 index grew by 44.7%, the BrandZ portfolio grew by 81.1%, proving that companies with strong brands are able to deliver better value to their shareholders.
Brands from the Western World bounced back in 2014, with a greater proportion of both the number and value of brands within the top 100. This reflected the resilience of established brands and the breakthrough of new brands, as well as improved economic conditions. As a result, the number of brands from fast growing economies slipped in 2014. China, with 11 brands, continues to have the largest representation, two Russian brands, Sberbank and MTS, remain in the ranking, and mobile operator MTN is Africa's representative for the third consecutive year. "As a result of emerging markets currency decline, MTN remains the only African representative in the Top 100" says Charles Foster, Regional Managing Director, Millward Brown Africa & Middle East.
The BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands report, rankings and a great deal more brand insight for key regions of the world and 13 market sectors are available online here
. A new suite of interactive smartphone and tablet applications will also be available for free download via Apple IOS and all Android devices from www.brandz.com/mobile
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