Apple beats Google to highest brand valuation

Apple has become the world's 'most valuable brand', taking over from advertising giant Google, according to the latest figures from market watcher Millward Brown.

The BrandZ Top100 rankings, compiled by advertising specialist WPP's subsidiary Millward Brown, claims that Apple's work in the consumer space over the last five years has led to an increase in 'brand value' of 859 per cent - making it the most valuable brand in the world.

Millward Brown claims that its BrandZ valuation is an accurate estimation of the financial value of a given brand, calculated by taking the 'intangible earnings,' multiplying it by the 'brand contribution' value and finally multiplying the result by the 'brand earnings multiple.'

While those not involved in public relations and brand marketing may find the terms used by the company a little vague and woolly, Millward Brown is adamant that its figures reflect reality - and are based on data from sources such as Bloomberg, Datamonitor, and the company's own research.

The latest index puts Apple in top place with a brand value of $153.3 billion, taking over from four-year chart topper Google as the most valuable brand around - thanks largely to the company's recent work in the consumer space with its insanely popular iPhone and iPad portable devices.

While Apple has seen its brand value grow 84 per cent year on year, Google has slipped by two per cent - while still hitting a respectable $111.5 billion valuation of its own, ahead of enterprise IT giant IBM at $100.9 billion. Year-on-year growth of 17 per cent for IBM could leave Google dipping to third place in next year's rankings, however.

Other tech companies have enjoyed small gains, with Microsoft rising two per cent, Oracle by nine per cent, and SAP by seven per cent - but others show a more dramatic swing, with Amazon rising by 37 per cent and Research in Motion's BlackBerry brand dropping 20 per cent - bad news for the company's PlayBook tablet plans.

The biggest surprise of them all, however, is Nintendo - which, Millward Brown claims, has dropped 37 per cent in value to $11.1 billion despite a relatively successful launch of its 3DS hand-held console.

The full top 100 rankings, complete with year-on-year comparisons for each brand, can be downloaded from Millward Brown for free as a PDF file.