Tech giants consolidate status as world's most valuable brands

The tech quintet of Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook have for the first time taken the top five places in the latest BrandZ ranking of the Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands, released today by WPP and Kantar Millward Brown.

Tech giants consolidate status as world's most valuable brands

First place Google’s brand is worth $245.6bn (£190bn), an increase of 7% on last year, in the ranking, which uses a mix of financial data and consumer research to calculate the contribution a brand itself makes to the company that owns it.

Google pulled slightly further ahead of its rival Apple, up 3% to $234.7bn, after it narrowly pipped Apple in last year’s ranking. Apple took the top spot in 2015, 2013, 2012 and 2011, while Google led for the four years before this, and in 2014.

The biggest grower in the top ten, however, is Amazon, up 41% to $139.3bn. That change in its brand value helped it leapfrog fifth-placed Facebook, up 27% to $129.8bn, and draw close to third-placed Microsoft, up 18% to $143.2bn.

US mobile network AT&T, meanwhile, falls from fourth to sixth place, despite its value growing 7% to $115.1bn.

Doreen Wang, Kantar Millward Brown’s global head of BrandZ, said: "This is the era of internet giants that have developed ever-growing ecosystems that touch and connect consumers, with the overall aim of making life easier, simpler and better.

"Technology with the consumer at its centre has redefined our expectations, and we now take for granted that products, services, tools and content are immediately available at our fingertips. These brands also demonstrate great elasticity – they confidently and comfortably play in new territories and new categories to develop and expand their customer bases."

Further down the list, McDonald’s (10th) recorded a second successive year of growth, after three years in which its value fell. It is now worth $97.7bn, up 10% and its highest figure to date, surpassing the $95.2bn it clocked in 2012.

But it was more bad news for Coca-Cola (13th), after it last year fell outside the top ten for the first time. Its value was down a further 2.7% to $78.1bn, and it remains one place behind cigarette brand Marlboro.

Coke's UK marketing director last month told Campaign that the Coca-Cola trademark still had the potential to continue to grow, but acknowledged it would become a smaller part of the company's portfolio over time.

Vodafone (27th) retained its place as the most valuable UK brand, but at $31.6bn was down from 14th and continued a long-term decline since 2009, when it was worth $53.7bn.

The total value of the top 100 brands rose 8% this year to $3.64tn – a third larger than the UK’s GDP in 2016 of $2.73tn.

The total value of the ranking is up 152% since the list was first compiled in 2006, with the growth driven largely by the giants. This year’s top ten combined is worth $1.42tn – just slightly less than the entire 100 was worth in 2006 ($1.44tn). The top ten has grown 249% over the 11-year period.

Another noticeable change is that the list is getting younger, with the average age of included brands falling from 84 to 67 since 2006 – reflecting the growing number of tech brands, including Snapchat (93), YouTube (65) and LinkedIn (79), and Chinese brands, led by Tencent (8), Alibaba (14) and China Mobile (17).

The top ten

Rank 2017

Brand

Brand value 2017 ($m)

Brand value change

Rank 2016

1

Google

245,581

+7%

1

2

Apple

234,671

+3%

2

3

Microsoft

143,222

+18%

3

4

Amazon

139,286

+41%

7

5

Facebook

129,800

+27%

5

6

AT&T

115,112

+7%

4

7

Visa

110,999

+10%

6

8

Tencent

108,292

+27%

11

9

IBM

102,088

+18%

10

10

McDonald’s

97,723

+10%

9