Google reclaims status as world’s most valuable brand
The year 2016 saw Google reclaim its spot as world’s most valuable brand, a position it hasn’t held since 2011. The ubiquitous search engine saw a 24% year-on-year increase, with the brand valued at a staggering $109 billion, according to Brand Finance’s Global 500.
Meanwhile, masters of minimalism Apple fell from grace, with a brand valuation of $107.1 billion down from $145.9 billion. David Haigh, CEO of valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance, blamed a lack of innovation for Apple’s retreat, saying: “Apple has struggled to maintain its technological advantage. New iterations of the iPhone have delivered diminishing returns and there are signs that the company has reached a saturation point for its brand.”
Google, on the other hand, remains the dominant figure on the search engine scene, a feat which has driven advertising revenues up 20% in 2016 as businesses increasingly turned to online campaigns. The only way, it seems, is up.
Troublingly for Apple, the Chinese markets, where it usually holds court, have surged with technological innovation, particularly from competitors such as Huawei and Samsung. The latter proving – remarkably – that a global recall of exploding devices can’t sully its market prowess. Haigh compounded Apple’s outlook with the gloomy news that “financial analysts are projecting declining revenues and margins”.
Speaking of finance, the financial sector saw a host of Chinese companies burgeon, a feat that Brand Finance accredits to the country’s maturing consumer economy and the growth of its middle classes. Wells Fargo (which fell 6% in brand value) was replaced as the most valuable financial brand in the world by ICBC (which came in at tenth place overall).
Brand power was assessed alongside brand value, with Haigh testifying to the intangible worth of brand power in helping companies ride out market storms, citing Samsung and Wells Fargo as major beneficiaries of this phenomenon. In this light, Lego regained its status as the world’s most powerful brand, with a brand strength score of 92.7. Brand Finance attributes this in part to its hefty licensing income, with partnerships extending from Star Wars to Harry Potter to Batman. With The Lego Batman Movie premiering this month, the trajectory looks set to continue.
The top five most powerful brands list was replete with household names (obviously, hence their oh-so-pervasive power) seeing Google come in at number two, succeeded by Nike, Ferrari and Visa respectively.