When marketing professors used to teach about the value of branding, Coke and Pepsi were the classic examples. You have a very similar product that, thanks largely to marketing and business acumen, brings in wildly different amounts of money for the parent company. Since at least the year 2000 until 2013, Coke was evaluated as the most valuable brand in the world.
But since 2013, times have changed. Apple overtook Coke to become the most valuable brand — don’t confuse that with most valuable company — a title it has held ever since. But a new report from global brand consultancy BrandZ suggests that Apple’s star might be fading, and ranks Google as the most valuable brand in the world, with Apple right behind.
BrandZ’s methodology uses financial data from Kantar Millward Brown and Bloomberg to create a measure of “brand equity,” which tries to extrapolate the value of the brand out from the underlying financial performance. According to their numbers, the Google brand is worth $302.26 billion, up significantly from last year’s ranking, and only a hair ahead of Apple at $300.59 billion. Google also took first place in BrandZ’s 2017 ranking, but Apple’s brand grew slightly more this year.
Coca-Cola, for what it’s worth, now languishes in 14th position, behind Marlboro and just ahead of Mastercard.
The biggest challenge to Apple and Google’s dominance clearly comes from China, where Alibaba and JD nearly doubled their brand value in the last year. American companies aren’t totally out of it, however, as PayPal, Netflix, and Tesla were also big risers.