Google has overtaken Apple to become the world's most valuable global brand in the 2014 BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands ranking. The BrandZTop 100 Most Valuable Global Brands study, commissioned by WPP and conducted by Millward Brown Optimor, is now in its ninth year.
After three years at the top, Apple slipped to No. 2 on the back of a 20 per cent decline in brand value, to $148 billion. Whilst 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. The world's leading B2B brand, IBM, held onto its No. 3 position with a brand value of $108 billion.
Some key findings highlighted in this year's research report point out that successful brands such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, Tencent and LinkedIn are more than just tools, they have become part of our lives. They offer new forms of communication that absorb people's attention and imagination, while also helping them organise the rest of their lives at the same time.
The study also found that apparel is 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). Brands such as Uniqlo, Nike and Adidas recorded double-digit increases in their valuation.
Besides, not only are the top four brands technology companies, so too are many of this year's biggest risers. This year's fastest climber was leading Chinese internet brand Tencent, up 97 per cent to $54 billion and the No. 14 rank holder, followed by Facebook which rose 68 per cent to $36 billion and took the No. 21 spot. New brands in the Top 100 include Twitter at No. 71 with a brand value of $14 billion and LinkedIn at No. 78 worth $12 billion. Collectively, technology companies make up 29 per cent of the value of the BrandZ Top 100 ranking.
Nick Cooper, managing director, Millward Brown Optimor, says, "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."
Prasun Basu, managing director, Millward Brown South Asia, says, "The BrandZ™ Top 100 ranking highlights the value of brand building in creating a tangible impact on businesses and consumers. As a result, the ranking has become a benchmark for those organisations that leverage their brands to add value to their businesses."