Apple Dominates List of Top 100 Most Valuable Brands of 2012

Each year, Millward Brown releases its Brandz list, which ranks the top 100 most valuable global brands, and Apple landed in the top spot again in 2012. While that news might not be surprising to you, you might be surprised to hear just how much more powerful Apple is in terms of brand value than any other global brand. For example, Apple’s brand value is 58% higher than the brand that landed in the #2 spot, IBM, and nearly double that of the brand that landed in the #4 spot, McDonald’s.

brandz top 100 brands 2012Interestingly, 44% of the value of the top 100 brands on the Brandz 2012 list are in the technology and telecom industries (up from 33% in 2006). 70% of the top 10 brands on the list operate in the technology and telecom industries. However, these aren’t the industries where brand value increased the most overall between 2011 and 2012. The luxury and fast food industries saw the most brand value growth (15%) followed by the apparel industry (13%) in 2012. Technology grew by just 2% and telecom providers experienced an overall brand value drop of 7%. Car brands also saw a 7% brand value decrease, but insurance companies experienced the highest levels of decreased brand value at -16% in 2012.

Top 100 Global Brands

Following is a list of brand values for the top ten brands in the 2012 Brandz list:

  1. Apple = $183 billion
  2. IBM = $116 billion
  3. Google = $109 billion
  4. McDonald’s = $95 billion
  5. Microsoft = $77 billion
  6. Coca-Cola = $74 billion
  7. Marlboro = $74 billion
  8. AT&T = $69 billion
  9. Verizon = $49 billion
  10. China Mobile = $47 billion

Almost half of the brands in the 2012 Brandz list of the top 100 most valuable global brands lost value during 2012, but since 2006, the total value of the Brandz 100 rose by 66%.

5 Biggest Winners

The five brands in the top 100 list that experienced the highest increases in brand value in 2012 in comparison to 2011 are:

  1. Facebook = 74% increase (ranked #19)
  2. Hermes = 61% increase (ranked #32)
  3. MasterCard = 53% increase (ranked #29)
  4. Starbucks = 43% increase (ranked #42)
  5. VISA = 34% increase (ranked #15)

5 Biggest Losers

The five brands in the top 100 list that experienced the biggest drops in brand value in 2012 compared to 2011 are:

  1. Carrefour = 43% decrease (ranked #98)
  2. Citigroup = 38% decrease (ranked #82)
  3. Movistar = 37% decrease (ranked #41)
  4. HP = 35% decrease (ranked #26)
  5. Chase = 28% decrease (ranked #92)

Key Takeaways

Millward Brown offers some key takeaways from its 104 page report that sum up how brands have evolved during 2011 and 2012 and how brands must continue to evolve in order to stay relevant and profitable. Some of those takeaways follow.

Brand Contribution, Personality, and Reputation:

Using the Brandz brand contribution measurement (a measurement of how much of a brand’s value can be attributed to the brand itself, exclusive of financials and other factors), Millward Brown demonstrates that, “high brand contribution is an enduring competitive strength most often found among luxury brands, but this advantage is available to brands in any category [today].”

Furthermore, “no single brand personality guarantees success. There’s no formula.” All of this leads to the importance of creating brand trust in consumers’ minds and managing the brand’s reputation. The Millward Brown report explains, “Consumers have little patience with brands and corporations that violate trust. They publicize transgressions immediately and widely on social media. When PR is facing damage control, it’s too late for the reputation conversation. Reputation is a core strategic concern. No brand gets a free pass.”

Disruption, Technology, and Digital:

Millward Brown cites the flexibility of entrepreneurs as a significant source of disruption for brands in the future explaining that today, “an entrepreneur with a good idea and minimal investment can rapidly impact any category.”

At the same time, technology has become a strategic imperative rather than a cost of doing business. “In almost every category, technology seems to be at the center of the conversation,” explains the Millward Brown report. “[Across categories], digital enables brands to be ever-present in ways that inform and delight people when they’re at home on a computer, engaged on a mobile device, passing a compelling outdoor display, or standing in a store aisle.”

One thing is clear from this report, technology, digital, social, and mobile are driving the strategically critical element that Millward Brown refers to as Brand Contribution, and increasing brand contribution should be a top priority for all brands in 2012 and beyond.

Image: Millward Brown

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susan Gunelius
Susan Gunelius, MBA is a 25-year marketing and branding expert and President and CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She is the author of 10 books about marketing, branding and social media, and her marketing-related articles appear on top media websites such as Entrepreneur.com and Forbes.com. She is also the Founder and Editor in Chief of WomenOnBusiness.com, an award-winning blog for business women.