May 9, 2011: Among all the brands in the world, there can be only one that claims the No. 1 spot as being most valuable.
This year, that honor goes to Apple, which registered an 84% increase in value over the past year. Apple's move up from third in 2010 ended Google's four-year reign, dropping the search engine-anchored tech/communications company to second, according to the sixth annual BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands study.
The annual 2011 BrandZ study is compiled by Millward Brown Optimor, a division of WPP Group.
IBM, which had been ranked No. 2 in 2010, is now No. 3. The Top Ten for 2011 also include (in order) McDonald's, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, AT&T, Marlboro, China Mobile and GE.
Meanwhile, online retailer Amazon edged past Wal-Mart to become the No. 1 retail brand and 14th overall, with a 37% rise in brand value to $37.6 billion.
The Apple brand has increased in value by 859% since 2006 and is now valued at $153.3 billion. Google comes in at $111.5 billion and IBM at $100.8 billion as the only three companies worldwide to top the $100 billion mark, according to the report.
The study also found that that "during the economic recovery of the last year, the combined value of all the brands in the top 100 has risen by 17% and is now worth $2.4 trillion."
The Top 100 Brand categories include apparel, beer, cars, fast food, financial institutions, insurance, luxury, oil/gas, personal care, retail, soft drinks technology and telecom.
Each of the 13 market sectors covered in this study grew in value over the last year. Fast food led the sector growth (22%) followed by luxury (19%) and technology (18%). The oil/gas sector experienced the slowest rate of growth (1%).
"The importance of brand for global business success is becoming increasingly significant," David Roth, CEO at The Store, a retail and marketing consultancy and analyst division at WPP, said in a statement.
According to Roth, over the past year, "The global economy shifted from recovery to real growth, the combined value of all brands in the Top 100 ranking has risen by 64% since 2006 and is now worth $2.4 trillion. Strong brands, while not immune to the vicissitudes of the market, are more protected, prepared, resourceful and resilient."
Among other findings in the 2010 Brandz report:
• Technology and telecom brands dominate the ranking, making up a third of the Top 100 brands, continue to demonstrate their relevance in our daily lives.
• This year, 19 brands come from emerging markets compared to two in 2006 and 13 in 2010. Emerging market brands make up 19% of the BrandZ Top 100.
• Facebook entered the BrandZ Top 100 for the first time at No. 35 with a 246% surge in brand value.
• Heritage brands remain relevant in a technology age: McDonald's (No. 4), Coca-Cola (No. 6), GE (No. 10) and IBM (No. 3) "stand out in this study of global brand strength as brands that have survived for more than 50 years. Leadership, strategy and tactics aside, what all of these companies have in common is their use of brand to remain relevant to consumers and drive global business success."
* Among top rivals, Coke (No. 6) far outdistanced Pepsi (No. 63) and Visa (No. 20) surpassed MasterCard (No. 60),
• Toyota at No. 27 claims the position as most valuable car brand, rising 11% to $24.1 billion over 2010. According to the report, Toyota demonstrate "the power of strong brands to recover from the most fundamental challenges to product efficacy and reputation." Among car companies, BMW was No. 30 and Mercedes-Benz at No. 50 were the only three to crack the Top 50.
"The global economy shifted from recovery to real growth, the combined value of the Top 100 ranking has risen by 64% since 2006 and is now worth $2.4 trillion."
"Our brand valuations are a powerful measure of an organization's ability to create real and lasting value for shareholders," Eileen Campbell, CEO of brand research for Millward Brown, said in a statement. "By nurturing its brand and constantly innovating, Apple is able to command a high price premium and weather economic turbulence, providing a global business success story that other brands can learn from."
For the full list of 100 brands see here.