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Apple, Google are top brands in the world

Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOGL) are the most valuable brands in the world. That’s according to Interbrand’s Best Global Brands Report. Apple’s brand is valued at $118.9 billion dollars, according to the report. That’s a 21% increase from last year. The Google brand value exceeded $107 billion.

“A lot of our thinking about this year’s report is really around the ‘Age of You,’” says Alfred DuPuy, Executive Director at Interbrand. Many of the top brands this year, like Google and Apple, he says, are finding success because “they make it about you and are able to curate those experiences to you.”

Coca-cola (KO), IBM (IBM) and Microsoft (MSFT) rounded out the top five. Four of the top ten companies are technology brands. Samsung came in #8 with a brand value of $45 billion. That’s up 15% from last year.

Interbrand determines the rankings by looking at the financial performance of the product or service associated with the brand. “Sometimes there are some bigger companies that aren’t on the list,” says DuPuy. “It’s because we cannot access their financials.” Interbrand then weighs the role the brand plays in a customer’s purchase and the strength of the brand to command a high price.

Five new brands entered the top 100 list this year: DHL, Land Rover, Fed Ex (FDX), Hugo Boss (BOSSY) and Chinese telecom and network provider Huawei.

DuPuy says many of the top brands are woven into people’s lives and the companies are constantly working to extend their relationships with consumers through “new products or new ways of communicating.” Facebook (FB), he says, is a great example of this. Facebook, #29 on the Interbrand list, saw its brand value increase by 86% since last year’s ranking. Other companies climbing Interbrand’s list include Audi, Amazon (AMZN), Volkswagen (VLKAY) and Nissan (NSANY). 

Other companies on Interbrand’s list are sliding. Brands like Nokia (NOK) and Nintendo (NTDOY) saw the largest drops in brand value from 2013. Nokia’s brand value dropped 44%, while Nintendo’s dropped 33%. “You’re left to wonder ‘what are they thinking? What are they doing?’ and they are not really telling us or helping us understand that.”

DuPuy says a lack of investment in innovation is likely to blame. “If you don’t invest and really have that longer term vision, drops are going to result. And those drops are really precipitated by consumers. Consumers are voting with their pocketbook.”