Millward Brown’s annual BrandZ study, which was released today, declares that US search engine Google has overtaken rival technology titan Apple as the world’s top brand in terms of value. This is a reversal from the previous 3 studies, which found Apple ranked just above Google.
In the study, Google’s brand value shot up 40 percent in a year to $158,843,000, while Apple came in at only $147,880,000.
“Google has been extremely innovative this year with Google Glass, investments in artificial intelligence and a range of partnerships, all these activities send a very strong signal to consumers about the essence of Google,” said Benoit Tranzer, the head of Millward Brown France.
Apple, which dominated the top position for three straight years, saw its brand value fall by 20 percent to $147.88 billion.
The top 10 of the 100 slots were dominated by US firms. IBM was in third place at $107.54 billion, a fall of 4 percent, followed by Microsoft at $90.19 billion — a 29 percent rise.
Of course, this study doesn’t actually point to which company is the most valuable. Instead, Millward Brown uses a combination of financial information—including projected future sales—and customer surveys to determine how much a brand is worth—or how much of the company’s value comes from customers’ views of that company. The entire process of determining a brand’s value is detailed on the Millward Brown website.
Essentially, information from customer surveys is used to determine a “brand contribution” number for each company. This number refers to how likely customers are to remain loyal to a company and other similar factors. This “brand contribution” is then multiplied by certain financial figures and the resulting figure is “brand value.”
This “brand value” represents how much of the company’s overall value comes from its brand. If it sounds a non-scientific, that’s probably because it is. Still, it’s interesting to see how consumers and firms like Millward Brown rank these companies.