Apple bumps Google as most valuable brand

Google had reigned supreme on the "BrandZ" top 100 list for the past four years. But with Apple's brand value rocketing 84 percent since last year, it knocked Google off its pedestal.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read
Millard Brown Optimor

Chalk another one up for Apple.

Apple is the world's most valuable brand with a value of $153.3 billion, according to Millard Brown Optimor's annual "BrandZ: Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands" study released today. In just one year, Apple's brand value has increased by 84 percent, the study said.

Google, the leader in the study for four years running, was knocked down to second place this year, losing 2 percent of its brand value to end up at $111.5 billion.

IBM, McDonald's, and Microsoft rounded out the top five with brand values of $100.8 billion, $81 billion, and $78.2 billion in brand value, respectively.

The marketing and advertising industry, not surprisingly, believes strongly in the importance of brand value. "Strong brands, while not immune to the vicissitudes of the market, are more protected, prepared, resourceful and resilient," David Roth of WPP, parent company of Millard Brown Optimor, said in a statement.

If that's the case, Apple's ability to insulate itself from market issues has exploded over the last several years. Millard Brown Optimor said Apple's brand value has increased 859 percent since 2006--the first year of the BrandZ study. Moreover, Apple's year-over-year growth has easily overshadowed the rest of the market. According to the study, the top 100 brands have seen their combined value increase by 17 percent to $2.4 trillion since last year.

Apple wasn't the only fast mover in the study. Facebook's brand value jumped to 35th place, increasing 246 percent year over year to $19.1 billion. China's biggest search engine, Baidu, saw its brand value increase by 141 percent year over year to $22.5 billion, which gave it 29th place.

Such companies have helped tech lead the way in brand value. The researchers said tech companies make up one-third of the top 100 brands worldwide. Amazon.com was also able to beat Wal-Mart to become the most valuable retail brand with a value of $37.6 billion.

Emerging markets are playing a bigger role in the top 100 list. Back in 2006, just two companies from emerging markets made the list. Last year, that tally reached 13. And this year, 19 of the top 100 brands came from emerging markets.

Millard Brown Optimor's BrandZ study is derived from both financial performance and "in-depth" interviews of consumers about their perceptions of brands and why they choose a specific product over another. The company's database includes 2 million such interviews from 30 countries.