Search for the best

In his column “What is the top brand? Let me Google it” (MW 16 September), Mark Ritson pointed out the high brand value placed on Google in Millward Brown’s BrandZ Top 100 ranking (April 2010).

Google: Highest Brand Impact Factor in the UK, US, Germany and France

Valued at $114bn, our study places Google as the world’s most valuable brand. How does Google come to be worth more than all the others and why in particular (a question asked by Ritson) is it worth more than Coca-Cola?

The answer partly lies in the value of its revenue stream/ the amount spent on search and Google’s share of it. More important is the security of that revenue in the future, and the ability of Google to stretch its brand to take revenue from new areas.

The BrandZ valuation takes account of this through its analysis of global consumer attitude data alongside the rigorous financial analyses. This clearly shows that Google is a great brand. Changing your search engine is actually a pretty simple task for consumers, but most don’t want to, because they like the brand and appreciate its benefits.

In fact, brand is a very important factor in consumers’ choice and use of online services. Using BrandZ data, we calculate the share of consumer choice (and hence of income) that is attributable to people for whom brand is important, and who hold the most favourable attitudes to a brand. We call this the Brand Impact Factor, and we use it to estimate the brand’s contribution to intangible earnings in our valuations and brand ranking.
Google turns out to have the highest Brand Impact Factor of all major brands in the UK, US, Germany and France: ahead of Pampers, Tide, Mercedes, the BBC or Waitrose. Bing, Yahoo! and others will have to work very hard to prise search away from Google – and consumers will view Google’s innovations with more favour.

Knowing the size of this advantage enables us to put a clear value on it. That’s why Ritson is quite right when he says Google deserves the top spot.

Graham Staplehurst, Senior director, brand and communications, Millward Brown

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