May 22 Apple has maintained its place
as the world's most valuable brand over the past year, leading a
group of technology-related companies that dominate the top 10,
according to a study published on Tuesday.
The iPhone and iPad maker has boosted its brand value by 19
percent in the past year to $183 billion, or 37 percent of its
market capitalisation, according to the annual BrandZ study by
leading brands and market-research agency Millward Brown.
Facebook, with a market value of $82 billion after
its initial public offering last week, was the fastest climber
in the top 100, seeing its brand value rise by 74 percent to
$33.2 billion to put it in 19th place.
Seven of the top 10 were technology-related firms, although
McDonald's and Coca-Cola kept their respective
number four and number six rankings.
Marlboro moved up a notch to seventh place despite
anti-smoking campaigns in much of the world.
Nick Cooper, managing director of Millward Brown Optimor
which produced the study, said the strength of technology brands
was a measure of the central and transformative role it plays in
"It's all pervading," Cooper told Reuters, "and there's a
lot of excitement and new news. This is where it's all
happening. That tends to increase not only the demand and
financial performance but also the role of brand."
Millward Brown, part of global advertising group WPP
, takes as its starting point the financial value of the
company or the part of the company that produces the brand, and
combines it with the brand's ability to create loyalty.
"When cars first appeared or when air travel first appeared,
they became liberating. It's the turn of the technology sector
at the moment," said Cooper.
Business technology brands also featured prominently in the
top 10, with IBM switching places with Google
to rise to second place. Microsoft kept its position at
Cooper said the so-called consumerisation of IT, in which
business hardware and software makers increasingly have to come
up to the standards that consumers are used to in their private
lives, played a role.
"The brands that are generally demonstrating the best growth
are those that tend to be occupying spaces where there is a lot
more intuitive natural use, where the consumer experience is
informing the B2B experience rather than the other way around."
Mobile phone brands AT&T as number eight, Verizon
as number nine, followed by China Mobile
completed the top 10.
Cooper said, however, some technology brands were vulnerable
to public opinion swinging against them, especially over emotive
issues such as privacy, where Facebook and Google have already
suffered a backlash for gathering large amounts of user data.
"Consumer technology is receiving the same kind of scrutiny
once reserved for banks and brands will have to respond
convincingly to increasing regulatory oversight. This may impact
social brands like Facebook in the future," he said.
Cooper added that Apple's increasing its brand value despite
the death of its visionary founder Steve Jobs in the past year
"They are catchable but they've either got to falter or
someone else has got to put on a sprint," he said.
Millward Brown will publish the complete list of its top 100
brands at www.millwardbrown.com.