Apple tops Google and Coke in brand valuation

Whatever damage Apple has sustained in the stock market as its hyper-growth slows to more modest levels, it still owns the most valuable brand in the world.

By 247 Wall St. Sep 30, 2013 11:21AM

Woman holding up an iPad displaying e-books (© Shannon Stapleton/Newscom/Reuters)24/7 Wall St.By Douglas A. McIntyre, 24/7 Wall St.


Whatever damage Apple (AAPL) has sustained in the stock market as its hyper-growth slows to more modest levels, it still owns the most valuable brand in the world. In the annual Interbrand survey, that value rose 28% to $98.3 billion. Google (GOOG) trailed in second place, up 34% to $93.3 billion. One of the world's older brands, Coca-Cola (KO) posted third, up only 2% to $79.2 billion.


Tech dominated the balance of the top 10 in the Interbrand 2013 study. International Business Machines (IBM) was fourth at $78.8 billion, up 4%. Microsoft (MSFT) was next, up 3% to $59.5 billion, followed by General Electric (GE) up 7% to $46.9 billion. McDonald's (MCD) was number seven at about $42.0 billion, up 5%.


Tech took the next top places -- Samsung in the number eight spot, up a sharp 20% to $39.6 billion, and Intel (INTC) down 5% to $37.3 billion. It was the only brand in the top 10 to lose value. Toyota Motor (TM) was in tenth place with a brand value of $35.3 billion, up 17%.


It tells a great deal about the revival of the car industry that the next two places on the brand list are held by Mercedes, up 6% to $31.9 billion, and BMW at $31.8 billion, up 10%. The two luxury brands may sell many fewer cars than Toyota. However, the price of each company's vehicles is almost certainly well above Toyota's.


One lesson from the Interbrand survey is that great brands are hard to kill. Many people will be surprised that Apple is at the top, and that other troubled brands like GE and Microsoft can make it into the top 10. Each of these, however, is universally known. Although revenue growth at each of the public companies has faltered, they are still among the largest corporations in the world.


The primary weakness of the Interbrand survey is that its methodology is a black box. Perhaps because it is in the consulting business, Interbrand does not want to disclose too much of what it sells to companies interested in improving brand value. The methodology includes financial evaluation, brand strength and the role of the brand. Some of the world's largest brands have been left out for subjective purposes:


Telecommunications, for example, tends to be strongly oriented to national markets and faces awareness challenges outside of home markets. The airline industry is highly capital intensive and, typically, operates on narrow margins. This means that airline brands struggle to achieve positive economic profits over the long term. Major pharmaceutical companies, while valuable businesses, are also omitted. This is because consumers tend to build a relationship with the product brands rather than with the corporate brand owner, and there is insufficient publicly disclosed financial data on pharmaceutical product brands to meet Interbrand’s criteria.


The Interbrand measurement approach may be short of perfect. It does, however, show how long brand value can endure, even if the brands are owned by faltering companies.


More from 24/7 Wall St.



Sep 30, 2013 12:55PM

One thing about being Big Number One: There's only one direction in your future.


Enjoy the ride!

Sep 30, 2013 1:23PM
No. 1 at ripping off whoever buys their products and the suckers like it.
Sep 30, 2013 2:51PM
As much as the media keeps pushing all things Apple, who didn't see this coming ?
Sep 30, 2013 6:24PM
What about Procter & Gamble? Been around for over 100 years and going strong...
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