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Apple's brand now more valuable than Coca-Cola as tech consumes pop culture

iphone and coke

The latest edition of an influential annual report sees technology companies further staking their claim to some of the world's most important brands. Interbrand now names Apple as the most valuable brand in the world, with Google in second place; Coca-Cola, which took the top spot in all 13 previous reports, must settle for third. IBM and Microsoft round out the top five, and Samsung switched places with Intel to come in eighth. Facebook is the biggest riser in 2013, jumping to 52nd place from last year's 69th.

"Tech brands continue to dominate Interbrand's Best Global Brands report," the consultancy firm said in a press release, "underscoring the fundamental and invaluable role they play in consumers' lives."

Apple's brand is valued at $98.3 billion

The report is based on a number of factors including financial performance, customer loyalty, and the role each brand plays in a purchasing decision. Through this, Interbrand issues a valuation of each brand: Apple's is $98.3 billion, Google's $93.3 billion, and Coca-Cola's $79.2 billion. Certain major brands that might have been expected to make an appearance don't match Interbrand's criteria — the BBC doesn't issue enough financial information to analyze, for example, and brands such as those owned by Walmart and telecoms companies don't have enough global reach.

"Few brands have enabled so many people to do so much so easily, which is why Apple has legions of adoring fans, as evidenced by the record-breaking launch of the iPhone 5C and 5S," says the report. "For revolutionizing the way we work, play, and communicate — and for mastering the ability to surprise and delight — Apple has set a high bar for aesthetics, simplicity, and ease of use that all other tech brands are now expected to match, and that Apple itself is expected to continually exceed."

Ashley Brown, Coca-Cola's group director for digital communications and social media, addressed Apple and Google's success with magnanimity on Twitter.

Nokia falls to 57th, BlackBerry drops off completely

Although technology companies dominate the top 10 with six spots, the rest of the list is more balanced; in fact, car companies including Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW account for the most places, with 14 out of 100 assigned to the "automotive" sector. Fast-moving consumer goods companies such as Gillette occupy 12 spaces, the same number as the technology industry. The lines are somewhat blurry, however — Amazon is classified solely as a retailer, for example, and IBM is considered a business services brand. And the report is far from universally positive for the technology industry; Nokia tumbled from 19th place to 57th, and BlackBerry fell off the list completely.

But the biggest revelation in the list is the astonishing growth in brand recognition and value shown by both Apple and Google over recent years. Coca-Cola grew just 2 percent since the 2012 list, against 34 percent for Google and 28 percent for Apple. Other technology companies in the top 10 had mixed fortunes: Microsoft has been relatively flat in the past decade, but Samsung displayed impressive growth of 20 percent to earn its eighth-place spot. Interbrand puts this down to the company's "innovative products" and a "massive" $4 billion spent on marketing — four times Apple's advertising outlay.

The Verge
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