Apple, Google and Coca-Cola — the World’s 3 Most Valuable Brands

It’s that time of year again. No, I’m not talking fall or Halloween — I’m talking that time of year when Interbrand releases its annual list of the most valuable brands in the world.

Are AAPL, GOOG and KO Really the World's 3 Most Valuable Brands?You might wonder just exactly who Interbrand is and how they determine which brands are the most valuable. Well, according to the company, “Interbrand is the world’s leading brand consultancy.”

All a brand has to do to be valuable is directly benefit the company. The top three most valuable brands this year were Apple Inc. (AAPL), Alphabet Inc. (GOOG, GOOGL), and The Coca-Cola Co. (KO).

Let’s take a brief look at how each brand benefits the company (not to mention its shareholders). Are any in danger of being knocked from their high horse? We’ll see.

A Powerful Triumvirate

1) AAPL has the world’s most valuable brand, which Interbrand’s scientific calculations determine to be worth about $170.3 billion — 43% more than it was last year.

A spate of product launches this year — the Apple Watch, iPhone 6S, and iPad Pro come to mind — as well as the Apple TV and potentially even the Apple Car show that the Cupertino-based tech giant is heavily invested in its name.

Perhaps that’s one reason AAPL stock has risen more than 12% in the last year, far better than the 2% for the S&P 500 index.

2) GOOG stock has similarly outperformed the S&P 500 since last year’s Interbrand rankings, gaining 14%. The famously rigorous Interbrand brand calculus shows that Google’s brand appreciated by 12% year-over-year, to stand at a value of $120.3 billion.

Ironically, most of GOOG stock’s outperformance in the past year is due to its decision to actually change its company name to Alphabet Inc., so we’ll see how much brand equity it has next year.

Certainly, the Google search engine is unlikely to lose much of its swagger anytime soon.

3) Finally, we come to Coca-Cola, whose brand lost 4% of its value in 2015. It doesn’t matter though, because the king of soda has been building its brand equity annually since its inception in 1886.

Today, the Coca-Cola brand is worth $78.4 billion, Interbrand reports. It’s no shocker, really — customers have proven ready and willing to pay a premium for the Coca-Cola name for years.

KO stock has not managed to beat the S&P over the last year, however; shares are down about 6.6% in that time.

The Rest of the Most Valuable Brands

Below are seven more companies that round out the top 10 list of the world’s most popular brands:

4) Microsoft Corporation (MSFT): $67.67 billion (+11%)
5) International Business Machines (IBM): $65.095 billion (-10%)
6) Toyota Motor Corp (ADR) (TM): $49.048 billion (+16%)
7) Samsung Elect Ltd(F) (SSNLF): $45.297 billion (0%)
8) General Electric Company (GE): $42.267 billion (-7%)
9) McDonald’s Corporation (MCD): $39.809 billion (-6%)
10) Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN): $37.948 billion (+29%)

Don’t be surprised if 10 years from now we see Amazon crack the top three! But for 2015, Apple and Google repeat as the most valuable brands in the world for the third straight year.

As of this writing, John Divine was long AAPL stock. You can follow him on Twitter at @divinebizkid or email him at editor@investorplace.com.

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