The 10 Most Valuable Brands in the World

Business Insider

In spite of struggling stock prices and loud public uncertainty over Tim Cook's innovative capabilities, Apple is once again the most valuable brand in the world, for the year 2013.

Every year, BrandZ and Millward Brown Optimor calculate and rank brands based on their global value. And even though Apple's growth rate decreased by 95%, the tech giant's brand value still increased by 1% from 2012 to a a whopping $185 billion.

Millward Brown VP Oscar Yuan told Business Insider that this is because the company ranks brands based not only on publicly available financial information, but "the second half, which is the unique part, is that we take in the consumer sentiment." Millward Brown polls more than 200 million consumers from 43 countries annually. In spite of everything, "Apple, in the eyes of consumers, is the gold standard."

The brands that really won this year were those tied to emerging mobile capabilities — be it AT&T for servicing tablets and smartphones or Visa for dominating online payment methods.

1. Apple

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REUTERS/Mike Segar

Brand Value: $185 billion
Percent Change v. 2012: 1%

What Happened: In spite of harsh Wall Street analysis and media speculation regarding Tim Cook's leadership capabilities, Apple continues to be a strong brand in the eyes of consumers — a major value measurement for Millward Brown. "Despite what the press says and stock market says," Yuan noted, "Apple in the eyes of the consumers is the gold standard."

In the last eight years, Apple's value has increased 1,045% — only topped by Subway's meteoric 5,145% rise. (Although Subway still hasn't broken the top 20.)


2. Google


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REUTERS/Mike Blake

Brand Value: $113.7 billion
Percent Change v. 2012: 5%

What Happened: Google has effectively taught consumers that it is more than just a search-based company. With maps, mail, shopping, and more, Google is integrated into everyone's lives. The company also made recent headlines about its new contribution to the hardware world in the form of Google Glass. "It will be interesting to see how Google Glass will contribute  to the brand value, but now it's too soon to tell," Yuan said.


3. IBM


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REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz

Brand Value: $112.5 billion
Percent Change v. 2012: -3%

What Happened: At $112.5 billion, IBM's three percent value decrease is not a substantial figure. IBM is known as a company that consistently delivers year after year, Yuan told BI. And it is particularly hailed in the B2B sphere.

Yuan also noted that its Ogilvy-made "Smarter Planet" campaign, in which the company explained its plans to help clients innovate and make the world a better place, inspired consumers to believe in the brand.


4. McDonald's


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AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

Brand Value: $90.3 billion
Percent Change v. 2012: -5%

What Happened: Yuan noted that one of McDonald's gifts was the ability to listen to consumers' sentiments and adapt, particularly to growing health concerns. "It has come out with a much healthier menu with apple slices, oatmeal, and a Chicken McWrap which has done well," he said.

McDonald's is also gaining a stronghold in the coffee space, which should be an interesting new endeavor to follow.


5. Coca-Cola

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REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Brand Value: $78.4
Percent Change v. 2012: 6%

What Happened: "What's consistently impressive about Coca-Cola is its ability to innovate," Yuan said. "People think that soda consumption is declining, but Coke is turning the business on its head." For example, this year Coca-Cola released a series of freestyle machines which allows consumers and retailers to mix their own flavors of the soda syrup to make their own individual Coca-Cola. The company is constantly innovating and staying fresh.


6. AT&T


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REUTERS/Mike Blake

Brand Value: $75.5 billion
Percent Change v. 2012: 10%

What Happened: AT&T is another company to gain value due to the increasing U.S. consumption of mobile products. For a long time, the service provider had an exclusive deal with the iPhone, so it became synonymous with the new technology. What's really interesting, however, is that even when Apple opened the iPhone up to Samsung and T-Mobile, AT&T's value didn't go down.


7. Microsoft


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REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel

Brand Value: $69.8 billion
Percent Change v. 2012: -9%

What Happened: As a $70 billion brand, Microsoft is in great shape even in spite of a 9% value decrease. Microsoft is a powerhouse and has a reputation as one of the strongest tech brands in the business. But, Yuan notes, "with consumers, there's confusion as to where Microsoft fits." The company's fortune is largely tied with the PC business, but it has emerged on the mobile scene with the Surface and other devices. The company went through a major rebranding in the summer of 2012 to stay relevant.


8. Marlboro


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Gilles Mingasson/Getty Images

Brand Value: $69.4 billion
Percent Change v. 2012: -6%

What Happened: Marlboro is a top 10 regular, which goes to show that even though smoking is restricted in the U.S. doesn't mean that the rest of the world has laid off the habit. "Marlboro has consistently invested in the brand ever since its inception," Yuan said. "The rugged cowboy is very strong and consistent globally."

To put it another way, "about 25% of world's population are smokers, and they use it 5 to 10 times a day. I don't drink 10 bottles of water a day." That's getting your brand out there.


9. Visa


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AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Brand Value: $56 billion
Percent Change v. 2012: 46%

What Happened: A key way to bolster global presence is to sponsor the Olympics. But that's not the only thing that upped Visa's brand value so drastically. As one of the most trusted names in non-cash payments, Visa has gained clout in the world of online shopping and mobile payments.



10. China Mobile


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REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Brand Value: $55.4 billion
Percent Change v. 2012: 18%

What Happened: China Mobile is the largest mobile carrier and brand in China, so it's a no-brainer that it's one of the most valuable brands in the world. "There are more mobile phone subscribers in China than in the U.S.," Yuan said.



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