Apple is No Longer the World’s Most Valuable Brand

MillwardBrown, the New York-based research firm, recently released their 2014 BrandZ rankings and, surprisingly, Google surpassed Apple for the first time as the world’s most valuable brand.

Although it had been the #1 brand in the world for the last 3 years, Apple’s brand value dropped 20% this year due to a growing perception (or misperception, if you will) that they are no longer “redefining technology for consumers”.

Since the untimely passing of Apple’s Steve Jobs, there is no doubt that the perception among the public, analysts and financial experts alike is that the company has lost some of its former shine.  Unfortunately this has affected the company greatly and, in terms of both market and brand value, its value has slipped precipitously.

The fact is that this slip, especially after Jobs’ passed away, was foreseen by many. Apple has been one of the brands that has defined technology for the last three decades but, in the last eight years, that definition was honed to an extremely fine edge due to the release of three electronic devices that created their own specific categories. The iPod music, the iPhone in cellular technology and the iPad were all world-changing devices.

Unfortunately, devices like these don’t come along very often and, even though they had one heck of a run, it was inevitable that Apple finally ran into a brick wall. Most likely it would have happened whether Steve Jobs passed away or not. In fact most analysts agree that the chance of ever seeing another company have a run like Apple did is highly unlikely.

Props need to go to Google of course, who MillwardBrown reports has been “unusually innovative” in the last 12 months. With Google Class, a wide array of partnerships for its Android operating system and artificial intelligence, it’s not surprising.

In fact the brand value of Google has, in the last year, risen 40% to $159 billion. That rise has income without attention however, especially from regulators here in the United States and abroad. For example, Google is at the center of a recent “right to be forgotten” ruling that was passed in Europe and aimed at the vast amount of information that Google keeps on file about its users. The antitrust lawsuit accusing Google of illegally monopolizing the US mobile search market is another attention grabber as well.

Google is now #1 however and, much like Apple has had to do in the last three years, will be forced to seek newer and better ways to keep themselves at that position. It’s easy to imagine Apple’s CEO Tim Cook getting just a tiny bit of pleasure out of that thought.

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