Google knocks Apple from most valuable brand top spot

Google has knocked Apple from its position as the world’s most valuable brand, according to the annual MillwardBrown BrandZ study.

Google cofounders
Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin inside a driverless car as executive chairman Eric Schmidt looks on.

Click here for our full report on this year’s BrandZ list.

The search giant’s brand value grew 40 per cent year on year to $159bn over the past 12 months, boosted by a strong financial performance and building consumer perceptions of Google as a brand that is both “different” and “salient”.

The last 12 months have marked a year in which Google has made its wearable tech product Glass available to consumers, launched smart TV plug-in Chromecast in the UK, purchased smart home device company Nest for $2.3bn and made progress on the rollout of its self-driving cars.

A busy year combined with a continued revenue and profit growth saw Google overtaking Apple which had maintained the BrandZ top spot since 2011, but marked a 20 per cent brand decline in brand value to $148bn in 2014.

The report’s authors say that while Apple remains a top performing brand, there is a growing perception among consumers that it is no longer “redefining technology” as it continued to launch iterative updates to its products rather than entering new categories.

Last month Apple posted another profit increase for its most recent quarter, but the rate of growth has slowed down and pressure is mounting on the company from investors to return to the momentum experienced in the years shortly after it launched the iPhone.

Technology brands once again dominated the Top 100. Just under a fifth (18) of the top 100 global brands in the 2014 study were from the technology category, with the value of those brands combined accounting for nearly a third of the total value of the list.

Twitter (70th place at $13.8bn), LinkedIn (77th, $12.4bn) and PayPal (97th, $9.8bn) made their debuts in the Top 100, which is now in its ninth year. Chinese internet portal Tencent was the fastest riser among the rankings, with a 97 per cent increase in brand value, making it the most valuable Asian brand globally.

In the UK, Vodafone clung on to the most valuable brand top spot, despite marking a 9 per cent decline in brand value to $36bn, as it felt the financial impact of the divestment of its 45 per cent stake in US mobile operator Verizon.

BT marked the highest brand value increase the UK Top 10, up 61 per cent to $15bn, as the launch of the BT Sport channel last year helped create a “sense of adventurousness and fun around the company”, according to Millward Brown global BrandZ director Peter Walshe.

Earlier this month BT credited the August 2013 launch of BT Sport – now available in more than 5 million UK households – for helping its consumer division post its first yearly revenue growth in more than a decade. BT told Marketing Week consumer interest in the channel has also had a halo effect on the wider BT brand.

Burberry was a new entrant into the UK Top 10 this year, having experienced a 42 per cent increase in brand value to $5.9bn. The report suggests the luxury brand stood out from the “stand-offish attitude” of its rivals with its digital marketing strategy, trumpeted by former CEO Angela Ahrendts, who joined Apple last month.

The annual study is commissioned by WPP and conducted by MillwardBrown Optimor, which uses the views of potential and current customers of brands, alongside financial data, to calculate their value.

For an in-depth analysis of this year’s BrandZ list and the wider implications for brands click here.

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