Apple has been taking it on the chin for a lack of Steve Jobs-like innovation since the company's co-founder lost his battle with pancreatic cancer. But the Mac-maker is winning on the global branding front.
For the first time in the history of Interbrand's Best Global Brands report, there is a new number one brand: Apple. As its name suggests, the brand consultancy's annual list identifies and examines the top 100 most valuable global brands.
Coca-Cola held the number one position for 13 straight years, but drops to the third position in 2013 as Apple takes the lead and Google climbs to second. The total value of the 100 Best Global Brands in 2013 is $1.5 trillion -- an 8.4 percent record increase over the total value of the 100 Best Global Brands in 2012.
"Every so often, a company changes our lives -- not just with its products, but with its ethos. This is why, following Coca-Cola's 13-year run at the top of Best Global Brands, Apple now ranks #1," said Jez Frampton, Interbrand's Global Chief Executive Officer. "Tim Cook has assembled a solid leadership team and has kept Steve Jobs' vision intact -- a vision that has allowed Apple to deliver on its promise of innovation time and time again."
Tech Companies Dominate
Apple is no stranger to Interbrand's list. The company ranked number 36 when it debuted in 2000 with a brand value of $6.6 billion. Apple's brand value has since skyrocketed to $98.3 billion, almost 15 times as much. Interbrand points to the way the company has created a seamless omnichannel experience for customers with the growth.
By keeping consumers at the center of everything it does, the firm noted, Apple is able to anticipate what it wants next and break new ground in terms of both design and performance. With 72 million Macs in use and record-breaking sales of both the iPhone and iPad, Interbrand said Apple has made history by unseating Coca-Cola and becoming Interbrand's most valuable global brand of 2013.
Technology dominates as the most valuable sector overall, with a combined brand value $443.2 billion. Out of this year's top 10 brands, seven come out the tech sector. Four tech brands make up this year's top five rising brands: Facebook (#52, up 43 percent), Google (#2, up 34 percent), Apple (#1, up 28 percent), and Amazon, (#19, up 27 percent). Other tech companies that made the list include Samsung, Yahoo, Nokia, BlackBerry, Nintendo and Dell.
Does It Matter?
We asked brand guru Rob Frankel for his feedback on the list. He told us the simple truth is that these reports mean absolutely nothing, for two reasons.
First, nobody out there -- especially these types of agencies -- can agree on a definition of what branding is, so they're usually measuring the wrong for the wrong reasons. Second, he said, because they have no common definition, they make things up, and very often use oblique data, like biased data, market capitalization, revenues and almost anything else they can make up.
"You really should be asking them what criteria they're using to come up with this stuff. That's where the real story is. That having been said, the true evidence indicates that Apple is actually a brand in decline and has been since 2008 or so," Frankel said.
"This began before the demise of Steve Jobs, by the way, and is accelerating as we speak. As soon as the downtrend on Apple reaches critical mass, it will still be a viable company, but its brand will barely register in these types of ridiculous polls," he said. "After all, where's Blackberry today?"