Google rose to the top spot in the most valued global brands in 2016 according to the newest Brand Finance Global 500 report. It's value rose by 24% during 2016, pushing aside last year's top brand Apple.
“Apple has struggled to maintain its technological advantage, with new iterations of the iPhone delivering diminishing returns, while the Chinese market is now crowded with local competitors,” explained David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance.
“Apple has been living on borrowed time for several years by exploiting its accumulated brand equity. This underlines one of the many benefits of a strong brand, but Apple has finally taken it too far.”
Measuring the brand in a different light --world's most powerful brands -- Lego took the top spot this year and Google took second place.
"A powerful brand can protect a company’s value during turbulent market conditions, create new market opportunities and increase profit margins," said Haigh. "All companies should therefore not just know the value of their brands, but also understand what drives that value and how it can be harnessed to benefit the business as a whole.”
BMW’s brand has improved in part through its diverse product offerings. For example in the U.S. the company has grown from four models in 1975 to 100 in 2015. “We don’t ever want our customers to grow bored,” Ludwig Willisch, CEO of BMW of North America told Fortune.
The company’s revenues continue to grow. Following sixth consecutive record-breaking years, January 2017 sales saw in increase of 6.8% compared with January last year.
Toyota’s brand shined brightly this month when the company announced that it had it has sold more than 10 million cumulative units of hybrid vehicle (HV) sales, including plug-in hybrids, as of January 31. The latest milestone was achieved just nine months after total sales reached 9 million units at the end of April 2016.
The company also reported net profits increased 10% (to $16.24 billion) despite sales decreases in most regions.
Walmart is on e-commerce shopping spree to ensure that it will not become victim to other brick-and-mortar stores that have had to close due to consumers’ online shopping preferences. In the past few months the company has purchased outdoor gear retailer Moosejaw for $51 million and an online footwear store ShoeBuy for $70 million. Those two purchases came after its $3 billion purchase of jet.com.
Part of Verizon’s brand strength is coming from its strategy to drive "innovation and adoption for IoT services in high-growth markets." Following that objective the company recently purchased Skyward. This brings drone operations management to the company's IoT portfolio. The company also announced a service, Airborne LTE Operations, that simplifies certification and connectivity of wireless drones.
Samsung Group is Asia’s most valuable brand in this ranking despite the recall of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone and a corruption scandal linked to the Korean president.
The South Korean conglomerate expects profit growth in 2017 with record earnings from its memory chip business helping its shares hit a series of record highs in January.
Microsoft is growing its brand partly through acquisitions, including the purchase of LinkedIn in December 2016.
“Our customers are seeing greater value and opportunity as we partner with them through their digital transformation,” said Satya Nadella, CEO officer at Microsoft. “Accelerating advancements in AI across our platforms and services will provide further opportunity to drive growth in the Microsoft Cloud.”
The company reported that commercial cloud annualized revenue run rate exceeds $14 billion.
AT&T saw its brand value grow 45% overtaking Verizon as the most valuable telecommunication brand. AT&T has taken a largely monobrand approach to its brand architecture, explains Brand Finance.
Following the acquisition of DirecTV, the company created an ‘endorsed’ brand, inserting its logo and ‘Now part of the AT&T family’ beneath the DirectTV wordmark. It has since moved a step closer to a unified branding.
Amazon is growing strongly as it continues to both reshape the retail market and to capture an ever larger share of it, according to Brand Finance. Amazon Fresh, its grocery service, is still relatively limited in scale but this year began operating overseas for the first time, serving Central and East London initially.
And the company has said it will create 100,000 jobs in the U.S. over the next 18 months.
While Apple has for the last five years held sway as the world’s most valuable brand, the company’s “evangelists are beginning to lose their faith,” according to the report. The company has “failed to maintain its technological advantage and has repeatedly disillusioned its advocates with tweaks when material changes were expected.”
The company, still a very strong brand, will have to compete not only with traditional rival Samsung, but a slew of Chinese brands such as Huawei and OnePlus, Brand Finance notes.
Google remains largely unchallenged in its core search business, which is the mainstay of its advertising income, explains Brand Finance. Ad revenues were up 20% in 2016, despite a fall in cost per click, as ad budgets are increasingly directed online.
Though mobile advertising has proved a challenge to monetize effectively, Google is persevering. For example 2016 saw the introduction of ‘bumper ads’, short, 6-second video ads better suited to the short clips that form an increasing part of media consumption on Google sites such as Youtube.
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