Move Over, AAPL: GOOG Once Again Most Valuable Brand

by Robert Martin | May 23, 2014 8:45 am

While shares of Apple (AAPL[1]) stock have had their ups and down in recent years, one thing was pretty consistent. Regardless of where shares of AAPL stock were heading, the company repeatedly topped the list of the world’s most valuable brands — in 2011, 2012 and 2013.


But that title has a new owner (or an old owner … depending on how you look at it). Earlier this week, BrandZ — the company responsible for that annual ranking — released the 2014 numbers, and Google (GOOG[2]) is back on top for the first time since yielding the throne in 2011.

GOOG Leads, Other Tech Names Follow

Neither GOOG nor AAPL are surprising list-toppers, though, especially considering their industry. Tech is pretty dominant throughout the top 10, taking up the top four spots. As the report put it:

“Technology brands have led the growth in brand value since the introduction of the BrandZ™ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands in 2006. The technology brands ranked in the BrandZ™ Global Top 100 totaled $826.9 billion in value in 2014, an increase of 141 percent since 2006.”

Of course, that brand value hasn’t always necessarily translated to continues stock gains so far in 2014. Just take a look at the full list of the top ten, complete with each stock’s performance. More than half are in the red year-to-date, and only three are beating the market’s 2% gains during the same period.

  1. Google: $158.8 billion (GOOG[2], -3%)
  2. Apple: $147.9 billion (AAPL[1], +8%)
  3. IBM: $107.5 billion (IBM[3], -1%)
  4. Microsoft: $90.2 billion (MSFT[4], +7%)
  5. McDonald’s: $85.7 billion (MCD[5], +6%)
  6. Coca-Cola: $80.7 billion (KO[6], -2%)
  7. Visa: $79.2 billion (V[7], -6%)
  8. AT&T: $77.9 billion (T[8], +1%)
  9. Marlboro, Philip Morris: $67.3 billion (PM[9], -1%)
  10. $64.3 billion (AMZN[10], -24%)

Other notable tech movers in terms of brand value included Yahoo (YHOO[11]), which moved up 23 spots to 69, and Facebook (FB[12]), which climbed up 10 spots to 21. In fact, the report authors connected the dots between the success of Google, Apple and Facebook — all of which are expanding their reach dramatically. In reference to AAPL and GOOG, the report read:

“Like Facebook, which experienced strong stock appreciation, these brands continued to acquire or develop competencies to build ecosystems and become indispensable.”

At the same time, the report also drew lines between some tech companies: namely, “those that have strong consumer-facing brands and businesses versus those that do not.” Names like Google, Apple and Samsung (SSNLF[13]) obviously rake in more consumer attention — and thus brand value — than an enterprise name like Cisco (CSCO[14]).

Rounding out the tech show led by GOOG, the list also featured some newcomers. LinkedIn (LNKD[15]) came in at 78 in its debut, while Twitter (TWTR[16]) and eBay‘s (EBAY[17]) PayPal also made their first appearances.

Again, though, that’s just further proof that appreciation in brand value hardly translates to stock gains; shares of Twitter stock, for one, have lost around half their value since the start of the year.

Maybe that disconnect stems from the fact that Twitter’s increasing brand value was already baked into the stock price. Or maybe that brand value just doesn’t  trickle down to the bottom line.

What we do know: Google is once again king, but that probably won’t matter for anyone investing in GOOG stock.

As of this writing, Robert Martin did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

  1. AAPL:
  2. GOOG:
  3. IBM:
  4. MSFT:
  5. MCD:
  6. KO:
  7. V:
  8. T:
  9. PM:
  10. AMZN:
  11. YHOO:
  12. FB:
  13. SSNLF:
  14. CSCO:
  15. LNKD:
  16. TWTR:
  17. EBAY:

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