Branding

The world’s most valuable brands revealed but it may not be all it seems

Max Stainkamph /

Google has overtaken Apple to be the world’s most valuable brand, according to an annual ranking of the top 100 brands by BrandZ.

With the report now in it’s 11th year, Google and Apple have spent the last few years changing ownership of the top spot as overall brand worth has changed 133% since the study’s inception.

According to the report, Google’s brand is valued at just under US$230 billion ($307 billion), with Apple only just behind at US$228 billion. In May, Forbes valued the overall Apple business at US$586 billion and Alphabet, Google’s parent company, at US$500 billion.

Google and Apple are streets ahead of the next best, with Microsoft’s brand valued at US$121 billion dollars.

The US-dominated list sees just three Australian companies make the cut, with Telstra at 78, rising 4 places; ANZ sliding 18 spots to 77; and Commonwealth Bank topping the trio in 64th place, despite falling 16 spots.

Both Westpac and Woolworths fell off the list, having placed at 84 and 87 respectively in 2015.

The report said while these large brands have been growing, what they need to do to maintain brand attraction is changing as well.

“Consumers are expecting brands to act as partners in their quest for the good life,” it said.

“Brands do need to be seen as doing more than making money.”

Not all it seems

However, brand analyst Michel Hogan told SmartCompany these lists should be taken with “a massive grain of salt.”

“I don’t think they represent a list of strong brands, more a profile of companies which have a good stock price, good turnover,” she says.

“These lists don’t represent the strongest brands, just publicly listed companies which make the most money.”

Hogan says there are large oversights in lists that track the pulling power of companies.

Hogan citied companies like Amazon, which at number seven on the list has subsidiaries that have significant brand power of their own, which she says should be judged separately.

Hogan says private companies that have very strong brands are often ignored when it comes to judging brand power.

“It ignores privately listed companies like Uber and Patagonia, both have much stronger brand pull to their users,” she says.

“They are vigorously aligned to a message and a vision and that’s what makes a valuable brand. Once you do that people won’t go somewhere else.”

Hogan says while the online space is having a noticeable impact on branding, businesses shouldn’t lose sight of was makes a brand.

“You can make a brand online. You can help build it using social media and online, but you need to make sure you have a core vision and deliver on your promises,” she says.

“A lot of companies are being caught out more often when they don’t follow through on their promises.”

The world’s 10 most valuable brands, according to BrandZ:

  1. Google
  2. Apple
  3. Microsoft
  4. AT&T
  5. Facebook
  6. VISA
  7. Amazon
  8. Verizon
  9. McDonalds
  10. IBM

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