Tech players entrench power in 2016 Interbrand ranking of world's most valuable brands

Apple and Google have once again topped Interbrand's list of the 100 most powerful brands - while Facebook and Amazon have seen their value grow faster than any other brand.

Facebook, Apple, Google and Amazon
Facebook, Apple, Google and Amazon

Apple increased its value by 5% to $178.1bn, while Google’s was up 11% to $133.3bn. Meanwhile fourth placed Microsoft, up 8% to $72.8bn, is snapping at the heels of Coca-Cola, the only one of the top five to see a value decline: it fell 7% to $73.1bn.

The top five is completed by Toyota; the car brand has leapfrogged IBM, which falls to sixth. Samsung, Amazon, Mercedes-Benz and GE round out the top ten.

Facebook, which climbs eight places in the list to 15th, is the fastest grower, with its brand value up almost half (48%) to $32.6bn. It is followed by Amazon, up from tenth to eighth, which saw its value grow a third to $50.3bn.

A brand’s ranking is based on three factors: the financial performance of its products and services, the role it plays in influencing customer choice, and its ability to command a premium price or secure earnings for the owner.

We’re all tech brands now

Manfredi Ricca, chief strategy officer for EMEA and Latin America at Interbrand, said the brands enjoying the most impressive results were "doing more than owning a part of a sector – they’re redesigning what their business is about".

There were three factors that united these brands, said Ricca. "First, they listen very carefully to what their consumers might want in the future.

"Second, they create internally a very strong culture that comes before strategy, that enables their employees to challenge the status quo, that encourages their people to go out and change things. And third, they build the capability within the organisation to deliver what they promise."

He added that while technology was creating "disproportionate growth", this was not limited to companies seen as being in the tech sector, but applied to a number of other brands in the list, such as Lego – "a great example of a legacy business using tech to become something between a toy company and an entertainment company" – Zara, which has embraced tech to be quicker getting things to the market.

The auto sector was another driving brand value growth by investing in tech, Ricca said. "Whether it’s Toyota investing in AI, or Mercedes or BMW thinking about the ways they can create services, what we’re seeing is the progression and convergence between information and mechanical technology, where there isn’t going to be a clear distinction any more."

How are they doing?

Apple

Rank: 1 (Last year = 1)
Value: $178.1bn (Year-on-year growth = +5%)

Sitting on top of the pile, a third larger than its nearest (and fiercest) rival, and still growing, it might seem perverse to describe Apple’s result as disappointing – but its 5% growth figure is tiny compared to last year’s 43%. It’s been more than six years since it launched a product widely seen as defining a new category – the iPad – and chief executive Tim Cook is seen more as a safe pair of hands than the visionary his predecessor was. So is the magic wearing off?

No, said Ricca. "I don’t think the Apple brand is in trouble – the level of expectation has been so high that even a relatively good performance from Apple is viewed with doubt and suspicion.

"Yes, it hasn’t been putting out the same level of innovation, and I think most critics are waiting for the next big thing. But on the good side, its revenue from services at Apple has increased by 20% year on year. That shows that Apple is leveraging the spending power of its customer base, and that is really a good thing. This brand can still create enormous growth because it’s got such a big installed base."

Google

Rank: 2 (2)
Value: $133.3bn (+11%)

The announcement of Google’s new handsets under the Pixel brand this week signified a greater ambition to be a major player in hardware, but Ricca says the brand’s continued strength is the "fruits of continuity".

"What Google does is continue to improve on its legacy products, but also put out new things on the market. It’s all about the fact that this brand promises and constantly delivers ongoing improvements to the way we use information."

Coca-Cola

Rank: 3 (3)
Value $73.1bn (-7%)

Four years ago Coke topped the Interbrand list but since then it has been left to eat the dirt of the two tech giants. But while its value is down a little on its 2012 figure, Ricca says it is not doing anything "wrong in particular", but is struggling with a hostile context of changing consumer habits and worries about sugar consumption.

"In a large portion of the western world, there’s been a slowdown when it comes to its specific products," he says. "But it’s trying to engage its consumers in new and different ways. It’s not a symptom of the brand not doing what it should do."

Amazon

Rank: 8 (10)
Value: $50.3bn (+33%)

It has bounded into groceries, restaurant delivery, smart home systems, Emmy–winning TV shows, user-generated content, and perhaps most counter-intuitively, physical bookstores, but Ricca says Amazon’s strength comes down to all of its lines of operation being based around offering "proximity – reducing the distance between desiring and owning. It’s a stirring example of owning a concept and hopping through different sectors in order to deliver that promise."

Facebook

Rank: 15 (23)
Value: $32.6bn (+48%)

Back in 2012, Facebook was 69th on the Interbrand list and worth only one sixth of what it is now – but it has now been the fastest growing brand in the top 100 for four successive years.

During that time, it continued to increase its users base, with monthly active users surpassing the population of China last year and now sitting at 1.7 billion. It also became an expert at mobile ads, which in the second quarter of this year made up 84% of its revenue – with the total for the quarter up 59% to $6.44bn.

Ricca says that until the last few years, Facebook’s brand value was suppressed by concerns around the way it handled its users’ data – issues that it has largely moved past. "But now with everything in place, this year’s growth is actually unleashing the full potential of the brand," he says."

The Top 100 in full

This year's rank Last year's rank Brand Value ($m) Change
1 1 Apple 178,119 5%
2 2 Google 133,252 11%
3 3 Coca-Cola 73,102 -7%
4 4 Microsoft 72,795 8%
5 6 Toyota 53,580 9%
6 5 IBM 52,500 -19%
7 7 Samsung 51,808 14%
8 10 Amazon 50,338 33%
9 12 Mercedes-Benz 43,490 18%
10 8 GE 43,130 2%
11 11 BMW 41,535 12%
12 9 McDonald's 39,381 -1%
13 13 Disney 38,790 6%
14 14 Intel 36,952 4%
15 23 Facebook 32,593 48%
16 15 Cisco 30,948 4%
17 16 Oracle 26,552 -3%
18 17 Nike 25,034 9%
19 20 Louis Vuitton 23,998 8%
20 21 H&M 22,681 2%
21 19 Honda 22,106 -4%
22 26 SAP 21,293 13%
23 24 Pepsi 20,265 3%
24 22 Gillette 19,950 -10%
25 25 American Express 18,358 -3%
26 27 IKEA 17,834 8%
27 30 Zara 16,766 19%
28 28 Pampers 16,134 6%
29 29 UPS 15,333 4%
30 31 Budweiser 15,099 8%
31 33 J.P. Morgan 14,227 3%
32 32 eBay 13,136 -6%
33 38 Ford 12,962 12%
34 41 Hermès 12,833 17%
35 39 Hyundai 12,547 11%
36 36 Nescafe 12,517 2%
37 42 Accenture 12,033 11%
38 44 Audi 11,799 14%
39 34 Kellogg's 11,711 -7%
40 35 Volkswagen 11,436 -9%
41 47 Philips 11,336 4%
42 40 Canon 11,081 -2%
43 49 Nissan 11,066 22%
44 NEW Hewlett Packard Enterprise 11,027 -
45 43 L'Oréal 10,930 1%
46 48 AXA 10,579 14%
47 37 HSBC 10,458 -10%
48 NEW HP 10,386 -
49 45 Citi 10,276 5%
50 56 Porsche 9,537 18%
51 54 Allianz 9,528 12%
52 53 Siemens 9,415 10%
53 50 Gucci 9,385 6%
54 46 Goldman Sachs 9,378 -2%
55 51 Danone 9,197 7%
56 52 Nestlé 8,708 1%
57 55 Colgate 8,413 -1%
58 58 Sony 8,315 8%
59 59 3M 8,199 13%
60 62 adidas 7,885 16%
61 61 Visa 7,747 13%
62 57 Cartier 7,738 -2%
63 68 Adobe 7,586 21%
64 67 Starbucks 7,490 20%
65 60 Morgan Stanley 7,200 2%
66 63 Thomson Reuters 6,830 4%
67 82 Lego 6,691 25%
68 65 Panasonic 6,365 -1%
69 74 Kia 6,326 12%
70 70 Santander 6,223 2%
71 64 Discovery 5,944 -9%
72 88 Huawei 5,835 18%
73 77 Johnson & Johnson 5,790 5%
74 66 Tiffany & Co. 5,761 -9%
75 75 KFC 5,742 2%
76 76 MasterCard 5,736 3%
77 80 DHL 5,708 6%
78 87 Land Rover 5,696 11%
79 86 FedEx 5,579 9%
80 79 Harley-Davidson 5,527 1%
81 69 Prada 5,504 -12%
82 72 Caterpillar 5,425 -9%
83 73 Burberry 5,362 -9%
84 71 Xerox 5,290 -12%
85 84 Jack Daniel's 5,193 1%
86 81 Sprite 5,148 -4%
87 89 Heineken 5,123 6%
88 98 Mini 4,986 18%
89 NEW Dior 4,909 -
90 97 PayPal 4,839 14%
91 83 John Deere 4,815 -8%
92 78 Shell 4,599 -17%
93 93 Corona 4,509 1%
94 90 MTV 4,320 -9%
95 92 Johnnie Walker 4,317 -5%
96 94 Smirnoff 4,252 -4%
97 99 Moët & Chandon 4,118 0%
98 91 Ralph Lauren 4,092 -12%
99 100 Lenovo 4,045 -2%
100 NEW Tesla 4,011 -

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