Apple has displaced Google as the world's most valuable brand, according to Interbrand's 2018 Best Global Brands report, regaining the title it lost last year.
According to the ranking, Apple’s brand value grew 16% year on year to $214.5 billion – the first time the $200 billion mark has been surpassed. In second place, Google was up 10% to $155.5 billion, while Amazon, valued at $100.8 billion, retained third place, up 56% and the fastest-growing brand on the list.
Microsoft at number four (valued at $92.7 billion) and Coca-Cola ($66.3 billion) complete the top five.
However, the year of the "techlash" was not without its casualties: Facebook, in ninth spot, suffered a 6% decline in brand value compared with 2017 in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data misuse scandal. It ends a sequence of five years in which Facebook was the fastest-growing brand.
Companies enjoying a rapid ascent include Netflix, up 45% on its 2017 brand value, Gucci (up 30%), Salesforce.com (23%) and Louis Vuitton (23%).
Spotify is the highest new entrant that has never appeared on the list before, with the music-streaming service landing at number 92 on the list, while Japanese carmaker Subaru completes the ranking in 100th place. Re-entrants include Chanel (23rd), Hennessy (98th) and Nintendo (99th).
"A decade after the global financial crisis, the brands that are growing fastest are those that intuitively understand their customers and make brave iconic moves that delight and deliver in new ways," Charles Trevail, global chief executive of Interbrand, said.
Christian Purser, chief executive of Interbrand London, added: "Leading brands are more customer-obsessed than ever, bringing the voice of the customer into every aspect of their business, making bold moves and taking calculated risks based on customer understanding. The fastest-growing brands across the last five years of the study are typically the most relevant to people’s lives and the most responsive to their changing needs."
The report, now in its 19th year, bases its valuation on three areas of analysis: the financial performance of the branded products or services; the role the brand plays in purchase decisions; and the brand’s competitive strength and its ability to create loyalty, sustaining demand and profit into the future.
With the latest iPhone having hit the market, Apple has stormed back to the top of the pile, and Trevail argues that the company "continues to set the standard for what it means to be a world-class brand in the 21st century and respond to today’s ever-changing customer expectations".
Mike Rocha, global managing director at Interbrand Economics, added that Apple has performed "exceptionally" against the criteria of driving consumer choice, its strength relative to competition and its profitability.
"As the first $1tn company by market capitalisation, Apple has proved highly adept at maximising the value from its hero product, the iPhone, exemplified by its recent launches of the iPhone XS, XS Max and XR. At the same time, it is tapping into the desire for useful apps and services, with sales from its services division growing by 23% to $30 billion in the 2017 fiscal year," Rocha said.
"Apple continues to reinforce its premium and luxury credentials through its X range of phones and new or enhanced devices such as the Home Pod and Apple Watch 4, whilst at the same time continuing to redefine retail with its ‘town square’ experience concept, where people can unlock their creativity and productivity through ‘Today at Apple’ interactive learning sessions."
The focus of this year’s study is "activating brave" and brands that are responding to the needs of the marketplace while pursuing a clear and aligned long-term vision. Interbrand cites the recent example of Nike’s controversial campaign featuring NFL star Colin Kaepernick – something that it describes as a "huge calculated risk".
The top 100 in full
|Rank||Brand||Sector||Value ($m)||% change|
|24||American Express||Financial services||19,139||8%|
|26||JP Morgan||Financial services||17,567||12%|
|44||Goldman Sachs||Financial services||11,769||8%|
|63||Morgan Stanley||Financial services||8,802||7%|
|77||Johnson & Johnson||FMCG||6,231||3%|
|83||Tiffany & Co||Luxury||5,642||5%|