Apple's stock is slipping, but its brand value isn't

It's still No. 1 among the world's 100 biggest names, whose combined worth is $2.6 trillion. No. 8 might surprise you.

By Bruce Kennedy May 22, 2013 12:36PM

A person takes a photo of an Apple sign with an iPhone (© Lukas Barth/dapd/AP Photo)What's in a name? Plenty of revenue and consumer recognition -- if it's the name of a well-known brand.

Look no further than Apple (AAPL), which again topped the latest annual study commissioned by advertising and marketing services firm WPP and conducted by research group Millward Brown Optimor. Their survey found that the combined value of the top 100 global brands has grown by 77% since 2006 -- to $2.6 trillion.

Some familiar technology, telecom, fast-food and soft-drink names dominate the list's top 10 positions, particularly Apple, which has withstood challenges to its brand dominance to remain the world's most valuable brand overall.

Still, some surprises also showed up in the 2013 rankings. For instance, landing at No. 8 is Marlboro cigarettes. The brand continues to capture the imagination of many consumers, despite growing health warnings about tobacco, and it remains the top-selling cigarette brand in the world.

Despite Apple's recent setbacks, its branding remains the company's "secret weapon," Millward Brown Vice President Robin Headlee recently told Digital Spy. Headlee also cites Apple's "ability to innovate and remain relevant to consumer challenges in an increasingly fast-changing and competitive market."

The study did note Apple's value grew just 1% in the past year -- compared with 51% growth for its closest competitor, Samsung (SSNLF), whose brand ranks 30th, with a value of $21 billion. But Millward Brown Managing Director Nick Cooper says Samsung spent $1.6 billion more on advertising in the past year as it vied for a lead in the lucrative smartphone market.

However, Cooper noted in a press statement, Apple's ability to maintain its top position demonstrates "the value that having a strong brand brings to business. People still love the brand regardless of its stock price."

The most rapidly rising brand category this year? According to the study, it's the world's favorite alcoholic beverage, beer. The top 10 beer brands grew by 36% and are worth a total of $64 billion.

Here are the top 10:

Apple brand value: $185 billion. Rank last year: 1.

Google (GOOG) brand value: $113.6 billion. Rank last year: 3.

IBM (IBM) brand value: $112.5 billion. Rank last year: 2.

McDonald's (MCD) brand value: $90.2 billion. Rank last year: 4.

Coca-Cola (KO) brand value: $78.4 billion. Rank last year: 6.

AT&T (T) brand value: $75.5 billion. Rank last year: 8.

Microsoft* (MSFT) brand value: $69.8 billion. Rank last year: 5.

Marlboro (MO) brand value: $69.3 billion. Rank last year: 7.

Visa (V) brand value: $56 billion. Rank last year: 15.

China Mobile (CHL) brand value: $55.3 billion. Rank last year: 10.

(*Microsoft owns and publishes MoneyNOW, an MSN Money site.)

More on moneyNOW

May 22, 2013 1:03PM
Apple?  We would still be living in peace and tranquility of Eve wouldn't have talked Adam into eating the tainted apple from the tree of knowledge.  I guess ignorance is bliss.
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