What’s in a name? Perhaps everything, especially if you want to win in advertising, brand recognition, and digital marketing. And that’s what exactly Apple is enjoying right now, as it was recently named as the world’s most valuable brand.
Apple has reclaimed its crown as the world’s top brand, according to the 2015 BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands, released by WPP and Millward Brown. The Cupertino-based tech giant takes the belt from the 2014 titleholder, Google.
While there was a lot of buzz surrounding the launch of the AppleWatch, it is the success of the iPhone 6 series that really helped Apple gain a 67% increase in estimated value, now totaling to $247 billion. Google grew its brand value by 9%, but it wasn’t enough to hold on to the top spot. The search giant settles for the second place with a value of $173.7 billion.
Microsoft takes the #3 spot with $115.5 billion, IBM at fourth with a little below $94 billion, and Visa rounds out the Top 5 with its $91.9 billion.
“Apple continues to ‘own’ its category by innovating and leading the curve in a way that generates real benefits for consumers,” commented Doreen Wang, Millward Brown’s Global Head of BrandZ.
“It meets their rational and emotional needs, and makes life easier in a fun and relevant way. Apple is clear on what it stands for, and never stops refreshing its message to sustain the difference that makes it so desirable,” she continued.
‘Ad’ as Friend
While not in the Top 10 list, Facebook proves it has a value to be reckoned with, as it was the biggest mover in terms of growth. The social network saw a 99% increase in brand value, which is now at $71 billion compared to $35.7 billion last year. This jump from the 21st place to 12th place this year was driven by Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp, as well as the company’s huge success in attracting ad spend globally.
Rising in the East
When it comes to preferred channels for advertising, marketers might want to look east, particularly in Asia as Europe powerhouses stagnate. Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba made its first appearance on the list, in a debut that landed it ahead of both Amazon (the second most valuable retail brand) and Walmart.
Alibaba lands at the 24th spot with a value estimated at $66.4 billion. Interestingly, the two most valuable brands in retail (Alibaba and Amazon) both lack physical stores but are still worth more than Walmart, which has 11,000 stores worldwide.
In total, 14 Chinese brands made it the list, including Internet company Tencent (11th, $76.5bn); China Mobile (15th, $59.9bn); and search engine Baidu (21st, $40bn). In 2006, there was only one Chinese company in the rankings.
The number of brands from Europe is down to just 24, from 35 in 2006. The value of these European brands grew 31% in the last 10 years, compared to 137% by US brands. Most of the previous entries that have been ‘pushed out’ of the Top 100 list by China were from Europe.
The Value of a Good Name
Technology companies still dominate the list, with a combined worth of more than $1 trillion, almost a third of the value of all brands in the ranking. With Alibaba’s entry, the retail category grew 24%.
The report calculates brand value using the views of potential and current buyers of a brand, alongside financial data.
The list reminds us that in the ever-competitive world of digital marketing and consumer products, it’s always a good idea to keep on innovating. Part of the strategy of winning over customers is having a name they can trust, which means stepping it up when it comes to social media marketing and reputation management.