Millward Brown’s Brandz survey tries to combine image and financial performance for its rankings so Apple has surged 84 per cent over the past year to knock Google off the top spot with a brand valuation of $153bn (its market valuation is $322bn).
Google, top for the past four years, is valued at $111bn (down two per cent) and is followed by IBM on $100bn, McDonald’s on $81bn (up 23 per cent) and Microsoft on $78bn.
Among brands as we used to know them Coca-Cola is in sixth place on $73bn and Marlboro, rather surprisingly but maybe reflecting emerging market puffers, rises to seventh place on $67bn, up 18 per cent.
China Mobile, in ninth place on $57bn, heads a number of Chinese companies which are risng rapidly up the Brandz table.
Biggest riser of all, which will surprise nobody, is Facebook, up 246 per cent to 35th place on $19bn. In the tech stakes Hewlett-Packard performed poorly, down 11 per cent in 18th place on $35bn.
These lists are always contentious but it’s hard to argue with Apple as numero uno although Facebook will surely make the top ten next year. Also, with companies like Apple and Google (and indeed Coca-Cola), you can make the case that their brands are not necessarily just the company. Google’s Android is surely a brand in its own right.
So these tables are a measure of company brands, not brands per se.