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Google surpasses Apple to become the Most Valuable Global Brand of 2014

MUMBAI: Web giant Google has surpassed American multinational corporation Apple to attain the title of 2014’s Most Valuable Global Brand, as per the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands study commissioned by WPP and Millward Brown.

Google was reported to be worth $159 billion, seeing an increase of 40 per cent year on year.

Millward Brown Optimor managing director Nick Cooper said, “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.”

After three years leading the list, Apple slipped to the second spot due to a 20 per cent decline in brand value to $148 billion. The study revealed that while 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.

Holding on to its third position was leading B2B brand IBM with a brand value of $108 billion. The fourth place, went to Microsoft with a value of $90 billion.

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
2 Apple Technology         147,880 -20% 1
3 IBM Technology         107,541 -4% 3
4 Microsoft Technology          90,185 +29% 7
5 McDonald’s Fast Food          85,706 -5% 4
6 Coca-Cola Soft Drinks          80,683 +3% 5
7 Visa Credit Cards          79,197 +41% 9
8 AT&T Telecoms          77,883 +3% 6
9 Marlboro Tobacco          67,341 -3% 8
10 Amazon Retail          64,255 +41% 14

With the top four companies from the technology sector, technology service companies saw a major climb. This year’s fastest climber was Chinese internet brand Tencent, up 97 per cent to $54 billion, followed by Facebook which rose 68 per cent to $36 billion and took the 21st spot. New brands in the list included Twitter at 71 with a brand value of $14 billion and LinkedIn at 78 worth $12 billion. Collectively, technology companies make up 29 per cent of the value of the BrandZ Top 100 ranking.

As per the study, the end of recession pushed the combined brand value of the top 100 up by 12 per cent.

WPP The Store CEO David Roth commented, “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. What’s remarkable is the way that strong brands have led the recovery. 71 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 combined value of the global top 100 has nearly doubled since the first ranking was produced in 2006. The top 100 today are worth $2.9 trillion, an increase of 49 per cent compared with the 2008 valuation, which marked the start of the banking and currency crisis.

Other key findings of the study revealed that brands like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Tencent and LinkedIn are more than just tools—they have become part of people’s lives. To gain greater mind space, Tencent and Google are even crossing categories. This trend also pushed the number one apparel brand Nike, a prime example of a brand seeking to become a share of life brand which offers services such as Nike+.

Moreover, 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 39 in the ranking and grew its value by 10 per cent to $22.6 billion. Dove, which has continued to find huge success on the back of its ‘real women’ philosophy, had a brand value of $4.8 billion.

The study also saw apparel as the fastest growing category. The top 10 apparel brands grew in value by 29 per cent to nearly $100 billion this year, outpacing cars (up 17 per cent) and retail (up 16 per cent). This was on the back of brands like Uniqlo, Nike and Adidas recording double-digit increases in their valuation.

Currently in its ninth year, the rankings study combines a brand valuation mechanism along with financial data, to calculate brand value. The study, which was introduced in China in 2011 and Latin America in 2012, will see an August 2014 launch in India with the BrandZ Top 50 Most Valuable Indian Brands study.