Commentary

Apple, Google Top Interbrand's Rankings

Coca-Cola officially has lost a little bit of its fizz with both Apple and Google besting it for the first time as the world’s most valuable brand in the annual rankings by Interbrand, which has become quite the model of smart PR itself. 

“Every so often, a company changes our lives — not just with its products, but with its ethos,” according to Interbrand CEO Jez Frampton in a statement accompanying the release of the 14th edition of the rankings. “This is why, following Coca-Cola’s 13-year run at the top of Best Global Brands, Apple now ranks No. 1. Tim Cook has assembled a solid leadership team and has kept Steve Jobs’ vision intact — a vision that has allowed Apple to deliver on its promise of innovation time and time again.”

Exactly what Interbrand’s Frampton means by ethos can be divined from an interview with the New York Times’ Stuart Elliott: “Brands like Apple and Google and Samsung are changing our behavior: how we buy, how we communicate with each other, even whether we speak with each other. They have literally changed the way we live our lives.”

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In 2000, when the Best Global Brands list made it debut, Apple ranked No. 36 with a brand value of USD $6.6 billion. Its value “soar[ed] 28% in a year to reach $98.3 billion,” observes the Daily Mail’s Hugo Gye. “Google's brand is worth $93.3 bn — up 34% on last year, with Coca-Cola worth $79.2 bn.”

The remaining brands in the Top 10 are: 4. IBM ($78bn);5. Microsoft ($59.5bn); 6. GE ($46.9bn.); 7. McDonald's ($42.0bn); 8. Samsung, ($39.6bn.); 9. Intel ($37.3bn.) and 10. Toyota - $35.3bn.

Interbrand’s Best Global Brands methodology “analyzes the many ways a brand benefits an organization, from delivering on customer expectations to driving economic value,” the company says. The three key aspects are:

  • The financial performance of the branded products or service;
  • The role the brand plays in influencing consumer choice;
  • The strength the brand has to command a premium price, or secure earnings for the company.

Coca-Cola was as gracious as a Southern gentleperson about its dethroning. Contacted by Elliott, CMO Joe Tripodi congratulated Apple and Google, pointing out that both have been “valued partners” and continued via email: “We’ve seen the value of technology brands rise as they create new ways for people to stay connected virtually. We understand this, as the lasting power of our brand is built on the social moment of sharing a Coca-Cola with friends and family.”

Suffice it to day that Coca-Cola intends to continue doing what it has been doing for more than a century — “creating these simple moments,” as Tripodi puts it.

Seven of this year’s top 10 brands are from the technology sector. Not that it is all that simple, of course, as a couple of formerly high-flying tech companies will aver. 

“BlackBerry, which stood at 93 last year, has disappeared from the list altogether,” the Times of Indiareports. “Finnish handset maker Nokia, which stood at 19 last year, fell down straight to the 57th spot. Nokia has been named as the ‘biggest faller’ this year among the top 100 in the report.”

The top rising brands are Facebook (No. 52, +43%), Google (No. 2, +34%) and Prada (No. 72, +30%). New entrants on the list this year are Discovery (No. 70), Duracell (No. 85) and Chevrolet (No. 89)

Interbrand attributes Chevy’s late-blooming revitalization to its aligning its engineering, design and retail operations behind a single vision and communications platform, “Find New Roads,” under the leadership of Global CMO Tim Mahoney and SVP/global head Alan Batey. 

All told, 14 of the top 100 brands hail from the automotive sector and nine of them experienced double-digit growth, reflecting the rebound of the industry. 

“We believe in the power of ingenuity. We want to lead and never follow, and we really want to put our customer in the middle of everything we do. We want to give them a product that delights them and makes their life easier,” says Batey in one of profiles and articles accompanying the rankings.

Other brand profiles, “thought leadership” articles, interactive charts and interviews with brand leaders from around the world are available here.

Luxury brands also “performed solidly,” with seven finishing in the Top 100: Louis Vuitton (No. 17, +6%), Gucci (No. 38, +7%), Hermes (No. 54, +23%), Cartier (No. 60, +26%), Prada (No. 72, +30%), Tiffany & Co. (No. 75, +5%), and Burberry (No. 77, +20%). 

Interbrand attributes their growth to “a renewed sense of consumer confidence, increased store openings — particularly in the U.S. and China — as well as the brands’ strong focus on linking the brick-and-mortar and digital brand experiences each has to offer.”

Not to mention that the rich are getting richer.

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