The World’s Most Valuable Brands 2017: Facebook, Amazon And Google Are Challenging Apple

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The Forbes’ list of world’s most valuable brands 2017 is out and, with not much of surprise, most of the brands have retained their position, albeit some of them have witnessed a jaw-dropping rise in their brand value in 2017.

Market cap, revenue and profitability – these are all metrics we use to measure the success of a company. While these are all solid, reliable factors that dictate a company’s success, there is one factor which is often overlooked. I am, of course, talking about the Brand Value. A relatively intangible metric, it is something that can propel a company to new heights. Conversely, it can even bring down the biggest of corporations.

Forbes recently came out with their annual “The World’s Most Valuable Brands” list for 2017. Once again, to absolutely no one’s surprise, it is Apple who tops the list for the 7th year in a row.

Interestingly, the 100 most valuable brands are worth a cumulative $1.95 trillion, up 6% over last year.

So how have the major global companies fared over the course of last year? Which are the companies that surprised us the most in terms of growth in their brand value?And, what does the future hold for some of the world’s biggest brands? Let’s find out!

The Brand Value of Apple Continues To Dwarf Its Rivals

For what is now the 7th year in a row, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is Forbes’ most valuable brand in the world in 2017. This comes as no surprise as Apple’s public perception continues to soar, along with its market valuation and profits. Despite slightly lowered shipment numbers in their last fiscal quarter, Apple continued to churn out healthy profits.

They also reached yet another historic milestone earlier this month, when their market cap smashed the $800 billion barrier. Now, Forbes has also deemed them the world’s most valuable brand with a value of $170 billion. This represents a growth of 10% from last year’s valuation of $154.1 billion.

It is a testament to Apple’s brand strength that they only needed to spend about $1.8 billion on advertising, which is lower than most of its top 10 rivals. With the near unparalleled hype and frenzy surrounding the release of the upcoming 10th anniversary iPhone, Apple’s brand value will continue to soar in the near future.

Google And Microsoft Lead The Competing Pack

Despite Apple’s soaring brand value, they now face more competition than they have in the past few years. Google continued their strong upward trend, with a 23% growth. This has resulted in the brand value of Google soaring to $101.8 billion in 2017. The Google brand’s strong growth and the mammoth $3.9 billion Google spent on advertising was enough to fend off Microsoft, who came in at third place. Microsoft’s brand value is $87 billion, 16% up from last year.

However, the star performers this year were Amazon and Facebook. The brand value of Facebook continued to skyrocket as it leapfrogged Coca-Cola into 4th place with a value of $73.5 billion. This represents a massive 40% improvement over last year! Despite this, they were overshadowed by Amazon. With a 54% increase, the brand value of Amazon has risen to $54.1 billion, placing them in the top ten for the first time.

On the other end of the spectrum, IBM’s brand strength continued its alarming downward spiral. With a near 20% depreciation, IBM’s brand value fell to $33.3 billion, dropping them out of the top 10 to 13th place.This likely due to the company’s new direction of focusing on cloud computing rather than hardware/software. Apple’s chief rivals, Samsung only managed minimal growth in brand value at 6% to come in at 10th place. This is likely due to the Note 7 fiasco, which negatively affected Samsung’s brand value.

Tech And Financial Service Dominates As Automotive Companies Falter

Technology Brands continued to dominate Forbes’ list, with 6 in the top 10. There was a total of 18 in the 100 strong list, the most out of any industry. Financial service companies also performed well, with 13 in the top 100, led by American Express at 22nd place. New entrant Allianz also managed to make to the list at 100th place.

Automotive brands, which had been performing quite well for the past couple of years, faltered, with only 11 making the cut this time. Leading brands like Toyota, BMW, Honda, Ford and Audi all performed poorly, with stagnating or depreciating brand values. German manufacturer Volkswagen fell out of the top 100 amid scandals involving fake emission tests.

On the Other Side, Apple Must Worry

Apple has been the world’s most valuable brand for a while now. However, their brand value growth is slowing down. At 10% growth in Apple’s brand value, it is quite a bit lower than competitors like Google, Amazon and Facebook. If the upcoming iPhone 8 becomes successful, we can expect Apple’s brand to soar higher and widen the gap even more. However, if the iPhone 8 fails to perform, we may just see someone else taking their crown.

The most likely challengers at the moment are Google and Facebook with the high growth in their brand value. Despite the monumental growth, Amazon’s brand value is too far behind at the moment for the gap to close anytime soon. However, it is reasonable to expect them to overtake Coca-Cola at the 5th place very soon, especially considering that Coca Cola’s brand value is depreciating after remaining relatively stagnant the last two years.


  • While Apple is currently the world’s most valuable brand, whether it stays this way will be highly contingent on the iPhone 8’s success.
  • Due to their aggressive growth and commitment to upcoming technologies like VR and AR, Facebook may overtake Microsoft as the third most valuable brand very soon.
  • With their declining interest in consumer hardware/software and the new focus on enterprise cloud solutions, expect IBM’s brand value to continue diminishing significantly.



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