The Top Brand Is, Well, Just Google It; Apple Falls to No. 2

What is the world's most valuable brand? If you said Apple, you would have been right until recently. According to a brand research firm, the world's most valuable brand is now Google.

The research firm, Millward Brown, said Wednesday that Google is in first place in the 2014 BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brand ranking. Apple had occupied that position for the last three years, but has now dropped to second place with a 20 percent decline in brand value. Third place is held by IBM, bearing a brand value of $108 billion. All 100 brands have a combined total of about $2.9 trillion, which is a 49 percent increase over the valuation in 2008, when the global financial crisis began.

The others in the Top 10, in order, are Microsoft, McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Visa, AT&T, Marlboro and Amazon. The top four are all in technology, representing 29 percent of the list's total value, and then the bottom six are one each in fast food, soft drinks, credit cards, telecom, tobacco and retail. New brands in the Top 100 include Twitter at 71 and LinkedIn at 78.

'Hugely Innovative'

The study, now in its ninth year, was commissioned by UK-based marketing agency WPP, which owns Millward Brown. Some observers have noted that WPP agencies, such as Ogilvy & Mather, have worked with Google. The research firm said the listing is the only brand-related one that employs the views of potential and current buyers of a brand, and financial data, to come up with the brand's value.

Millward Brown calculates that Google's brand is worth $159 billion, an increase of 40 percent compared with last year, while Apple's brand is priced at $148 billion. More than 70 percent of the brands in the Top 100 were on the list as far back as 2008.

Nick Cooper,...

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