Apple pushed Google to claim the top spot in the Millward Brown BrandZ Top100 ranking of the most valuable brands globally.
The organization estimated Apple's brand value at north of $153 billion, which shouldn't be confused with Apple's market capitalization that currently stands at cool $324 billion. Google's brand value dropped two percent to an estimated $111.5 billion, enough to rank second.
Apple earned an 84% increase in brand value with successful iterations of existing products like the iPhone, creation of the tablet category with iPad, and anticipation of a broadened strategy making the brand a trifecta of cloud computing, software, and innovative, well-designed devices.
The success of Apple in the brand rankings is mostly due to the success of the iPad, which sold more units in the time period than Macs, and iPhone -- despite Android's continued dominance in sales figures. Millward Brown also attributed Apple's success to the company's employees that "see protecting and nurturing that brand as a top priority."
[…]Apple understood that its customers wanted access to data and images anywhere, anytime, in easy-to-view definition with an easy-to-use touch interface. In a span of a few months, the brand met these needs with the iPad and iPhone 4. Apple trusted that its customers would discover uses for these products that would help organize, simplify or complicate, but mostly improve their lives. This cocreation approach resulted in roughly 350,000 Apple apps, and it added value to the product and the brand.[…]
They also noted that Apple "continued quietly developing a cloud", adding an Apple-branded cloud holds the potential to further strengthen the brand as "a trinity of platform, content and device".
On the other hand, Google is now ranked second in the BrandZ Top100 with a brand value of $111 billion, followed by IBM ($101bn), McDonald's ($81bn) and Microsoft ($78bn) -- this makes four of the top five companies technology-based.
Facebook ($19.1 billion), Amazon ($37.6 billion) and the Chinese search engine Baidu ($22.6 billion) also stand out as year-over-year performers.
Millward Brown also saw Sony as a more trusted brand than Apple (but of lesser recommendation), however this will no doubt decrease drastically after the PSN outage crisis is factored into next year's report.
Reference: BrandZ Top100