Outside the 5th Avenue Apple Store in Midtown Manhattan (Photo : Michael Oleaga)
The ubiquitous American company founded in 1886 and available in every country in the world (except, officially, Cuba and North Korea) is no longer the world's number one most valuable brand. Coca-Cola, your throne has been usurped by Apple, Inc.
The new number one most valuable brand was crowned by Omnicon Group-owned Interbrand, a hotly-followed corporate identity and brand consulting group, which has compiled a list called the "Best Global Brands" since 2000. According to The New York Times, Apple Inc. replaced Coca-Cola on the top of the list; the first time since the list's inception that Coca-Cola did not hold the number one spot.
According to Jez Frampton, the global chief executive of Interbrand, Apple Inc.'s move to the top was only "a matter of time." Last year, Apple was a the number two spot, which was six spots higher than the year before. "What is it they say, 'Long live the king'?" Mr. Frampton asked in a recent interview, according to The New York Times. "This year, the king is Apple."
The group's listing of the top global brands this year is heavy on the tech companies, signaling a steady rise in the value of not only Apple Inc., but also Google, Samsung, and older tech brands like I.B.M., Microsoft, and General Electric. Tellingly, Coca-Cola dropped two spots, down to the number three most valuable global brand, behind Apple and Google.
"Every so often, a company changes our lives-not just with its products, but with its ethos. This is why, following Coca-Cola's 13-year run at the top of Best Global Brands, Apple now ranks #1," said Frampton, in the company's release. "Tim Cook has assembled a solid leadership team and has kept Steve Jobs' vision intact - a vision that has allowed Apple to deliver on its promise of innovation time and time again."
To assess the most valuable brands, Interbrand not only takes into account the financial performance of the brand, but also the role it plays in influencing consumer choice and the strength that the brand has to command a premium price, or elsewise to secure earnings for the company.
Apple certainly fits the bill on all three, and especially in the last two categories. For example, after releasing the iPhone 5s with 64-bit architecture - the first mobile device to sport that feature - Samsung announced days later that its next major release would also feature a 64-bit processor, indicating that it felt such processors would eventually be a standard consumer demand. And Apple's iPhone 5s and entry-level "cheaper" iPhone 5c still demand premium prices from consumers, which clearly they are ready to pay.
It's been a long road for Apple Inc. to the top of the list. Back in 2000 - before the release of the first iPod - Apple was ranked at number 36 on the list, with a value of about $6.6 billion. Thirteen years, and several introductions and iterations of the iPod, iTunes Store, iPhone, and iPad later, Apple's brand value is now upwards of $98.3 billion, according to Interbrand, or about 15 times as valuable as the brand in 2000.
Other fast-rising brands on the list include Google, which has become 34 percent more valuable due to its core offerings like Search, Android, and Gmail, and new innovations like Google Glass and the self-driving car. Facebook, which is down the list at number 52, has raised its value 43 percent over last year, after surprising Wall Street with its mobile revenue and announcing a plan to veritably take over the world.