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Apple overtakes Google as most valuable brand

Apple overtakes Google as most valuable brand

Top 100 Brands lists sees Chinese newcomers while Facebook and Baidu rank high among rising values. Meanwhile, although they remain cautious, consumers are certainly spending

May 10, 2011 4:16 by

“Brands are moving from recovery to real growth.” At least that’s what Lois Jacobs, CEO of branding company Fitch, wrote down in WPP agency Millward Brown’s latest BrandZ Top 100 brand evaluation report. (Millward Brown is a sister company of Fitch.)

The report has recently been in the news for ranking Apple over Google, making it the most valuable brand this year. The Apple brand is currently valued at $153.3 billion—an 84 per cent rise in the past year. Google’s brand value is estimated at $111.5 billion.

Along with Apple, year-on-year standout performers for the 2011 BrandZ brand valuation report include Facebook, Amazon and Baidu. Other highlights include:

–       With a 246 percent rise in brand value to $19.1 billion, Facebook made the BrandZ Top 100 for the first time at No. 35.

–       Amazon edged passed Walmart to become the No. 1 retail brand, with a 37 percent rise in brand value to $37.6 billion.

–       The Chinese search engine Baidu increased 141 percent in brand value to $22.6 billion, ranking it No. 29 in the Top 100, up from No. 75 a year ago.

–       Toyota rebounded to the No. 1 rank in cars. Its performance demonstrated the power of strong brands to recover from the most fundamental challenges to product efficacy and reputation.

Besides rankings, the study also finds that non-traditional communication channels continue to influence brand perceptions and, indirectly, purchase decisions as it sees greater cynicism among consumers who are also willing to share insight and information.

Illustrating how dramatically shopping has changed, Amazon, the online company with no stores, surpassed Walmart as the most valuable retail brand. The company continued to add categories last year, even food, to drive traffic. Since founding the company in 1995, Jeff Bezos has worked to perfect its unparalleled selection, peer reviews and a delivery scheme that builds loyalty.

It also finds, however, that despite traditional communication being put on the wayside, the retail environment remains a level playing field among brands and marketers as the last place to either reinforce or change purchase decisions.

Created 13 years ago, BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands is one of the most comprehensive annual ranking of brand value. It focuses on market-facing brands that generate revenue and profits through the sale of goods and services directly to consumers or business customers, establishing the value of the Coca-Cola brand, for example, rather than the Coca-Cola Company. This proprietary data is analyzed with publicly available financial information from Bloomberg, Kantar Worldpanel and other sources.


Four of the Top 5 ranking leaders were in technology. McDonald’s was the fifth. In the meantime, across different sectors, there have been general sector brand increases in fast food (22 percent), luxury (19 percent) and technology (18 percent).

Technology and telecom brands continued to grow as a portion of the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands. These categories now comprise a third of the Top 100 brands compared with a quarter in 2006. Reflecting the influence of fast-growing markets, 12 Chinese brands, 3 Brazilian brands, 1 Indian brand and 1 Russian brand appear in the Top 100. Two Indian brands narrowly missed the Top 100 in brand value, but rank in the Top 20 most valuable brands in the technology sector.


With a 246 percent surge in brand value, Facebook entered the BrandZ Top 100 for the first time at rank number 35.

The Top 20 Risers also included online retailer Amazon and four other technology brands – Apple and Baidu along with Siemens and Cannon, which benefited from resurgence in business-to-business demand. Visionary, entrepreneurial leadership also contributed to growth in value, especially for Facebook, Apple, Amazon and Starbucks.

The Chinese search engine Baidu captured rank No. 29 in the BrandZ Top 100, up from No. 75 in 2009 on a sharp 141 percent rise in brand value. As more of China’s 1.3 billion citizens searched the Internet, they turned to Baidu because the brand has deeply understood the nuances of China’s diverse cultures and languages.

The fast-growing market dynamism that boosted China’s Baidu also pushed the brand values of Skol, Brazil’s largest beer brand, up 68 percent, and Petrobras, the country’s oil and gas giant, which advanced 39 percent. The 58 percent rise in the brand value of Pizza Hut was in part driven by its performance in China. Standard Chartered Bank of the UK, up 45 percent, also benefited from global business.


According to the report, “frugality eased last year, but consumers didn’t spend frivolously, suggesting that brands will continue to feel the impact of the recession-accelerated shift to considered – rather than conspicuous – consumption.”

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