Apple, the world’s most valuable brand in 2013

iPod dancerby Tony Fannin, CEO/Partner, BE Branded  |

It was announced today (Monday, September 30, 213), Apple has become the world’s most valuable brand according to Interbrand (who conducts the survey every year and is considered to be one of the world’s top brand consultancies). Before, it used to be the world’s most valuable Tech brand. Today, Apple ended Coca Cola’s 13-year reign as number one, which fell to number 3. Google is ranked number 2.

So, what makes up the Brand Valuation? In the words of Interbrand, “every so often, a company changes our lives, not just with its products, but also with its ethos.” As you see, it’s not just a financial issue since Apple stock peaked in 2012. Financial performance does contribute to the scoring, but it’s not the sole driver of the value of a brand. Here’s the list, in order of Brand Valuation for this year:

1- Apple
2- Google
3- Coca Cola
4- IBM
5- Microsoft
6- General Electric
7- McDonald’s
8- Samsung
9- Intel
10- Toyota

I would like to focus on the “Ethos” portion of a Brand Valuation. I have been a huge believer in the idea the stuff you do or sell is the commodity part. The real value is in what you stand for and Interbrand’s criteria supports this concept. Those who understand the “real” value of a brand understand that it’s easy to copy a product and service and come out with a me-too. Look at the push Galaxy has done over the last few years. If it was just about the product, marketshare and cost, they should be at least be in the top 5.

The brand ethos is even more important to the consumers. They want to buy from a company who is not about just money, but about improving human life, doing good, taking care of our world. In other words, bring REAL value to our lives. If it were all about the specs and costs, Apple should not even crack the top 10. Many would argue that there are better smart phones out there and definitely cheaper. If these were the true measures of Brand Valuation, then why don’t we see them beating the pants off Apple? According to Steve Jobs, Apple merges the liberal arts and technology into a powerful tool for expression and creativity. This is the core of their ethos (pun intended). What Steve has been willing to do throughout his career was never to be afraid to “destroy” and cannibalize his own products in the service of their ethos, their brand.  Tim Cook, a long time Apple executive, is continuing this mission.

Brand Power, typically makes up about 20% of a stock’s value. This is huge and worth billions of dollars. Imagine if you had a strong enough brand that would capture 20% more revenue just because people believed in your ethos as a company. Would that make a difference in your company? Of course, it would. Now, image if you linked that up with a great product or service. That is how magic is made.

As we like to say, it’s not what makes you different, but what difference you make.


About Be Branded

Tony Fannin is of President of BE Branded, an integrated marketing firm who helps clients BE Somebody to their customers. If you aren't somebody, then you are commodity.

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