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Google takes top valuable brand rank

Google is now the world’s most valuable brand. The annual ranking from Brand Finance says Google’s (GOOGL, -0.61%) monetary value increased to $109.5 billion last year, representing a 24% increase overall. By contrast, Apple’s (AAPL, -0.23%) monetary value fell from $145.9 billion in the previous year to $107.1 billion, according to the study. The decrease allowed Google to snag the top spot by about $2.4 billion.

“Apple has failed to maintain its technological advantage and has repeatedly disillusioned its advocates with tweaks when material changes were expected,” the study’s authors wrote, who further explained that the tech-giant has “over-exploited the goodwill” of its customers, namely because of its failure to generate significant revenues from products like the Apple Watch, and its inability to “demonstrate that genuinely innovative technologies desired by consumers are in the pipeline.”

As for Google, the company “remains largely unchallenged in its core search business, which is the mainstay of its advertising income,” Brand Finance wrote in the report.

Though Google has largely benefited from increased revenues (parent company Alphabet recently reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter revenue) its brand strength score is also a factor in its success.

For the second time in three years, Google is the world’s most valuable brand, according to the latest BrandZ ranking compiled by marketing research firm Millward Brown.

In its annual report ranking the top 100 global brands, Millward Brown, a subsidiary of advertising giant WPP, ranked the Alphabet-owned Google (GOOG, -0.44%) ahead of Apple (AAPL, -0.23%), marking the second year in a row that the two tech giants have swapped the top two spots on the BrandZ list.

The ranking takes more than 100,000 global brands into consideration and brand value is based on a combination of financial performance, including revenue and profitability, and interviews with more than three million consumers.

According to the latest BrandZ ranking, Google’s value increased by 32% year-over-year to hit $229 billion, while Apple’s value dropped 8%, to $228 billion.

Google parent company Alphabet’s share price is up more than 36% over the past 12 months on increased ad revenue, while Apple’s stock has been in flux this year due to investor concerns over disappointing iPhone sales.

Millward Brown notes in its 2016 report that Alphabet and Google made inroads with investors last year by laying out a clear plan for the future while investing in sectors such as healthcare and life sciences, as well as continuing to develop autonomous driving technology.

The report says that the top-10 brands on its list collectively increased their value by 133% over the past decade, including a 3% uptick in the past year to reach a total of $3.4 trillion.

Tech companies have come to dominate the top-10 more and more in recent years, representing four of the five highest-valued companies on the list.

Telecom AT&T (T, +0.56%) the one outlier in that group, which also includes Microsoft (MSFT, -0.47%) at No. 3 and Facebook (FB, +0.22%) in fifth place.

The top-five does not even include Amazon (AMZN, -0.54%) (ranked seventh on the list), which saw the greatest year-over-year increase in value, rising 59% to almost $99 billion.

Credit card services giant Visa (V, +0.69%) comes in at number six on the BrandZ ranking, while Verizon Communications (VZ, +0.94%) and McDonald’s (MCD, +0.38%) round out the list.

The latest version of the Brand Finance Global 500, which identifies and ranks the world’s most valuable brands, has seen Google take the number one spot, with Apple dropping to second place after a five year stint at the top.

Despite a substantial jump in its brand value, Amazon.com remains in third place.

Apple has been top of the list since 2012, as its dominance in the smartphone and tablet sector helped it consistently grow in brand value.

This year Brand Finance reports a 27% fall in brand value. Amongst the factors it considered when making its assessment was a perceived over-exploitation of the goodwill of customers, with other tech brands playing catch-up in the competitive technology sector.

 

Crucially, a number of Chinese brands have strengthened their position in the smartphone market, further denting Apple’s supremacy.

Considering Google’s victory in regaining the top spot after a six year absence, Brand Finance’s analysts note that the company has carefully built up its brand equity despite its overall brand architecture being more complicated than Apple’s.

Amazon rounds off a competitive top three, having seen its brand growth leap 53% year on year (YoY). Meanwhile Facebook posted an even more impressive annual growth, its 82% rise in brand value propelling it into the top ten.

Even this, though, can’t match Tencent’s 95% YoY improvement, which saw it jump 70 places on the overall list.

Other Chinese tech brands that saw significant jumps in value were WeChat (103%), Alibaba (94%), JD.com (46%) and Huawei (28%).

The 20 most valuable brands (with last year’s rank in brackets) were:

Rank
Brand
Brand value 2017 ($m)
Brand value % change (YoY)
1 (2)
Google
109,470
24%
2 (1)
Apple
107,141
-27%
3 (3)
Amazon.com
106,396
53%
4 (6)
AT&T
87,016
45%
5 (4)
Microsoft
76,265
13%
6 (7)
Samsung Group
66,219
13%
7 (5)
Verizon
65,875
4%
8 (8)
Walmart
62,211
16%
9 (17)
Facebook
61,998
82%
10 (13)
ICBC
47,832
32%
11 (9)
China Mobile
46,734
-6%
12 (11)
Toyota
46,255
7%
13 (10)
Wells Fargo
41,618
-6%
14 (14)
China Construction Bank
41,377
17%
15 (22)
NTT Group
40,542
28%
16 (12)
McDonald’s
38,966
-9%
17 (15)
BMW
37,124
6%
18 (23)
Shell
36,783
16%
19 (18)
T (Deutsche Telekom)
36,433
10%
20 (21)
IBM
36,112
14%

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