Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) has dethroned Apple Inc. (NADAQ:AAPL) as the world’s most valuable brand in Millward Brown’s annual BrandZ study 2014, titled Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands 2014. The internet giant has leapfrogged iPhone maker after its brand value surged up by 40% reaching $158.8 billion from $113 billion in 2013.
So, what made the internet giant click this time? Google is taking innovation to the next level, be it combining technology with apparel that has resulted in Google Glass, bringing in GoogleX that is making WiFi available globally by putting satellites tied to balloons over the earth, or doing something as simple, but creative, as changing their logo, called as Google Doodle, on their search page frequently. The top-ranker has maintained the element of surprise and delight with the audience. On the other hand, Apple is losing its stance with its products not being over the brim in innovations. The Cupertino-giant recorded a 20% decline with its brand value reaching from $185 billion to $147 billion.
The collective brand value has doubled in 8 years since its inception in 2006. More than 70% brands have kept their spot on list resonating that strong connection with customers goes a long way in branding.
In 2014, top most 100 valuable brand added $310 billion to reach $2.9 trillion in brand value, a 12% increment compared to 7% last year. Led by Apparel with 29%, all categories recorded positive rose. 10 out of 14 brands experienced double-digits growth. Only 18 out of 100 lost compared to average of 31 brands losing since financial crisis. Consumer categories including apparel, cars, luxury, and personal care and retail grew sharply. Apparel, the fastest rising industry, boasts of the greatest increments by 58%, followed by Nike and Adidas with 55% and 47%, respectively. This strengthens the trend of converging apparel and technology into wearable.
Some key-points about the report
- The only non-technology brand in the top-5 list is McDonalds which dropped from its 4th position last year.
- IBM has stuck with its 3rd position although a 4% decline has been recorded in the brand change value from last year.
- Coca-cola, which was the best brand of 2012, has slipped to 6th position with its worth being $80 billion.
- Tencent has recorded a whopping 97% boost and jumped 7 positions to gain a spot in Top 15 (14th position).
- The automobile, apparel and oil-and-gas industries have failed to make their presence felt in the Top 25.
- Twitter (71st), LinkedIn (78th), Ford (84th), Bank of America (94th), PayPal (97th), ING Bank (98th) and UBS (99th) are the new entrants who made up to the list of Top 100 Most Valuable Brands 2014.
The only retail brand in the top-20 is Amazon.com, showing an impressive 41% increase with a $64 billion brand value. Although brand value of Walmart went down by 2%, it has maintained its 2nd spot in retail segment with $35 billion. Toyota became the most sought-after automobile brand at 26th position with $29 billion. Ford is new entrant in the list surging with 56% brand value. In the apparel segment, Nike jumped ahead of Zara to attain the top-spot. The former has recorded a 55% increase by being worth $24 billion. Zara is not far behind with $23 billion.
The resurgent economies of North America and Europe helped accelerate the growth. Last year, though, the growth was majorly a recovery from recession, 2014 saw some new growth among brands. Tencent, the social network of China, experienced a growth of 97% followed by 68% of Facebook. Presence of Tencent and Baidu, the online search brand, in the list indicated the existence of Chinese technology.
Due to economic recovery in Continental Europe, the value of top 10 most valuable brands based in this region incremented by 19%, following a 5% growth last year. In contrast, top 10 brands of North America rose only 5.9% and UK by 5.4%. All the top 10 brands, however, belonged to North America as compared to last year, which featured only 9 out of top 10 brands.
Consumer and Retail: The more successful brands provided a value-added combination of fashion, speed and price. Car brands were benefitted by US economy whereas personal care brands were affected especially by the Brazilian economy.
Food and Drink: Consumers favored quality over quantity. Changing customers’ attitude about health affected both fast food and soft drink categories.
Financial Institutions: Regional banks with less risky practice and insurance brands experienced a positive year as their value appreciated.
Technology: Brands like Google and Facebook experienced a strong stock appreciation. They continued to acquire or develop competencies to build ecosystems and become indispensable. The B2B brands benefitted from corporate investment in storage and analysis of data but they also had to undergo fundamental changes like shifting to cloud-computing, pay-as-you-go models, rise of mobile and decline of PCs.
Most Valuable Technology Brands 2014
The companies pertaining to technology section dominated with more than 15 companies featuring in the list. Their overall brand value of these companies is nearly $827 billion, which is nearly one-third of total brand value of all companies listed. This goes on to prove that technology has taken over our lives in a significant manner. Four out of top-5 slots have gone to tech companies that include Google, Apple, IBM and Microsoft. This category rose to 16% of overall brand value. The rapid rises in brand value – and fluctuations with Apple declining and Microsoft rebounding- point to the extraordinary rate of industry maturation and innovation happening simultaneously. The fierce competition in technology revolves around making the business obsolete before competition does it. European and North American telecom providers faced consolidation and disruption as the markets recovered economically. They sought to strengthen their network, advance convergence and improve customer satisfaction.
“No matter what category you’re in, the idea of delighting and surprising is an opportunity, and consumers reward all brands for it.” said Oscar Yuan, VP at Millward Brown Optimor.
The quoted brand valuation of each company is made using a methodology that combines extensive and on-going consumer research with rigorous financial analysis. The tabulation is achieved by conducting an in-depth quantitive consumer research worldwide on a category-by-category and country-by-country basis. The research is compiled on basis of 2 million consumers and more than 10,000 different brands spanning over 30 countries. The report looks at the top 100 brands across the food and beverage, technology, automotive, retail, beverage, financial services and luxury verticals.