Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has surpassed Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) as the world’s most valuable brand, according to market research firm Millward Brown’s annual Brandz Global Top 100 Most Valuable Brand report. The study, which was commissioned by multinational advertising company WPP (NASDAQ:WPPGY), dropped Apple to the No. 2 spot this year. The iPhone maker has held the No. 1 spot on the list for the past three years in a row, while Google previously held the No. 1 spot from 2007 to 2010.
According to Millward Brown’s study, Google achieved the greatest brand value increase of any company in 2014, rising 40 percent to nearly $159 billion, while Apple’s brand value slipped by 20 percent to less than $148 billion. The technology category was one of the most valuable market segments when it came to brands, accounting for almost 30 percent of the total value of brands ranked in Brandz Global Top 100 report. Overall, the value of brands in the technology category rose 16 percent over last year. IBM (NYSE:IBM) took the third overall spot with a brand value of $107.5 billion, while Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) took fourth place with a brand value estimated at $90 billion. McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) was the only non-tech company to crack the top five rankings with a brand value of $85.7 billion.
The report cited Google’s “culture of innovation” as one of the primary reasons for its increase in brand value. Besides market driven projects like Google Glass and the Android Wear Operating System, Millward Brown’s report noted Google’s “long-term initiatives” such as “research into artificial intelligence, slowing aging, improving car safety, and redesigning cities with driverless cars.”
“Projects like these elevate [Google’s] brand, so that it’s viewed as both a commercial and scientific enterprise, practical in its need to generate profit but also generous,” noted the report’s authors. On the other hand, Apple’s decrease in brand value was attributed to its perceived lack of innovation in recent years.
“I think the world is looking at Apple as a brand that created an Earth-shattering revolution, and I think that has slowed down a bit,” Millward Brown vice president Oscar Yuan told AdWeek. “The fact that [Google] doesn’t see themselves contained in one sector is really a testament to their boldness and willingness to try new things.”
On the other hand, the report noted that, “Apple’s share price performance over time suggests that confidence remains strong in a technology brand that makes products, retails them around the world, provides content, and is renowned for combining technology prowess, design and service.” The report also noted that Apple faces challenges similar to what high-end luxury brands face, “the dilemma of balancing exclusivity to protect the brand and command a price premium, while expanding to mass to gain volume at the risk of brand dilution.”
Although Apple has slipped on Millward Brown’s brand value list, it should be noted that the iPhone maker topped brand value company Interbrand’s 2013 list of “Best Global Brands,” as well as Forbes’ list of the “World’s Most Valuable Brands” that was compiled last November. While Apple’s brand value may have dropped, its share price appears to be climbing. Apple’s stock has jumped over 15 percent in value since it reported its March quarter earnings late last month and is currently trading around $608. Here’s how Apple has traded so far today.
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