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Tech companies replace traditional leaders to become most valuable global brands

TechnologyOn various platforms, technology companies have reiterated their place as some of the best brands in the world because of the critical role that they play in a consumer’s life. In some cases, the reign of the technology companies as valuable brands, has come by displacing the so-called traditional leaders. This is also one of the most clear takeaways from the recently released ‘Best Global Brands’ by brand consultancy, Interbrand.

For the first time in 13 years, Interbrand’s Best Global Brands has a new leader. Apple has claimed the top position this year, and Google has jumped to the second place. Coca-Cola, the brand that held the numero uno position for 13 consecutive years, has moved to number three. This year, the total value of all 100 Best Global Brands is USD 1.5 trillion – an 8.4 percent increase over the total value of the 100 Best Global Brands in 2012.

Apple has appeared on Best Global Brands ranking since 2000, when the ranking debuted. In 2000, Apple ranked #36 and had a brand value of USD 6.6 billion. Today, Apple’s brand value is USD 98.3 billion– almost 15 times the amount of its brand value in 2000. Apple’s meteoric rise in brand value can be attributed to the way it has created a seamless omnichannel experience for customers. By keeping consumers at the center of everything it does, Apple is able to anticipate what they want next and break new ground in terms of both design and performance.

“Every so often, a company changes our lives—not just with its products, but with its ethos. This is why, following Coca-Cola’s 13-year run at the top of Best Global Brands, Apple now ranks #1. Tim Cook has assembled a solid leadership team and has kept Steve Jobs’ vision intact – a vision that has allowed Apple to deliver on its promise of innovation time and time again,” said Jez Frampton, Interbrand’s Global Chief Executive Officer.

2013: A new era of leadership
In addition to identifying the top 100 most valuable global brands, this year’s Best Global Brands report also examines the evolving role of leadership as it relates to brands. Interbrand contends that leadership must now be shared. CEOs, CMOs and consumers all have the power to drive the value of the brands they manage or admire.

“In today’s global and social media-obsessed marketplace, brand leaders recognise the need to be highly collaborative. The top 100 most valuable global brands are unlocking their value by participating, listening, learning, and sharing – and not just with leaders from within their organisation, but with consumers too. Brands that learn to think differently about the role they play in consumers’ lives – and how to fulfil that role – have an opportunity to change the world in ways they never imagined,” noted Mr Frampton.

Tech dominates 2013’s top rising brands
Facebook (#52, +43 per cent): As the leading, and the only, social media brand to claim a position on this year’s Best Global Brands ranking, Facebook has succeeded in boosting both revenue and earnings per share in the past year—and has surpassed Wall Street’s expectations in the process. Facebook also increased its global user base by 26 percent since its IPO over a year ago. Around the world, the brand continues to see an increase in users, with the Asia-Pacific region experiencing the largest growth. Facebook’s mobile users also grew by 51 percent in the past year and mobile ads are poised to account for more than half of the social media giant’s advertising dollars. With former Google executive Gary Briggs recently named the company’s first CMO and by acquiring companies like Instagram, Facebook’s growth is likely to continue for years to come.

Google (#2, +34 per cent): Due to evolutionary changes to its core offerings (Search, Android, and Gmail) and new innovations like Google Glass and its self-driving car, Google’s brand value increased by 34 percent – making it this year’s #2 brand and the second top rising brand after Facebook. By continuing to move beyond search and by placing big bets on innovation, Google will impact the way its consumers live and behave worldwide – and increase the value of its brand in the process.

Apple (#1, +28 per cent): Despite having its reputation tarnished by patent spats with Samsung and the Foxconn labour conditions scandal, the Apple brand proved to be resilient and emerged as not only the leader in this year’s Best Global Brands report, but also a top riser. In addition to being resilient, Apple is also prescient – continually anticipating what consumers will want next.

Amazon (#19, +27 per cent): With a brand value increase of 27 percent, Amazon is a top riser in this year’s Best Global Brands report. The e-commerce innovator continues to differentiate itself from rivals by taking on initiatives such as Amazon AppStore, which provides a comprehensive mobile experience for Google Android devices. Amazon has also expanded into new businesses such as TV-set-top boxes, original programming, 3-D smartphones, the Kindle line of e-book readers, and same-day grocery delivery service. Such initiatives, if successful, could mean Amazon will play an even greater and more holistic role in its consumers’ future retail experiences.

Another brand that saw significant increase in value in 2013 is iconic Italian luxury fashion brand Prada that emerged as Interbrand’s third top riser this year with a brand value increase of 30 percent—just behind top-rising technology brands Facebook and Google. Prada’s increase in brand value reflects the organisation’s ability to strike a harmonious (and profitable) balance between honouring its Italian heritage and producing innovative and cutting-edge designs.

Technology dominates as the most valuable sector overall, with a combined brand value USD 443.154 billion. Out of this year’s top 10 brands, seven hail from the tech sector. Furthermore, four tech brands make up this year’s top five rising brands — Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon. Tech brands continue to dominate underscoring the fundamental and invaluable role they play in consumers’ lives. Due to its commitment to product innovation and its massive marketing spend, Samsung (#8, +20 per cent) has surpassed Apple in smartphone sales and appears to be leading the tech sector in terms of connectivity and home automation. Samsung, which had one of the strongest increases of absolute brand value this year, continually anticipates what consumers will desire next.

Tech companies that are falling behind
Despite the strong performance of many brands in this sector, a number of tech and consumer electronic brands did not rise, or even earn a position, on this year’s ranking. Most notably, one-time category leaders, Yahoo! and Blackberry fell off this year’s ranking entirely, while Nokia (#57, -65 per cent) experienced the largest decline in brand value in the history of Best Global Brands. Nintendo (#67, -14 per cent), and Dell (#61, -10 per cent) also experienced a decline in brand value. In the fast-changing world of mobile, digital and social media, these brands have struggled to articulate their respective attributes and deliver meaningful and seamless experiences across all platforms and touchpoints.

Interbrand’s Best Global Brands methodology, first of its kind to become ISO certified, analyses the many ways a brand benefits an organisation, from delivering on customer expectations to driving economic value.

When determining the top 100 most valuable global brands, Interbrand examines three key aspects that contribute to a brand’s value — the financial performance of the branded products or service, the role the brand plays in influencing consumer choice and the strength the brand has to command a premium price, or secure earnings for the company.