Apple beats Coca-Cola to become world’s most valuable brand for first time

The results are in for the Best Global Brands 2013 - and it's good news all round for the technology sector

Apple has been crowned the world’s most valuable brand, knocking Coca-Cola off the top spot for the first time since the influential annual measure was created 13 years ago.

The highly-regarded Best Global Brand 2013 charts, released today by the image consultancy firm Interbrand, saw the long-term reigning champion soft drinks company actually slipping down to third, with a huge surge in value seeing Google take second place.

Apple’s brand value was estimated at $98.3 billion, up 28 per cent from the same report last year. Coca-Cola received just a 2 per cent increase, up to $79.2 billion.

 “Every so often, a company changes our lives, not just with its products, but also with its ethos,” the report reads.

“This is why, following Coca-Cola’s 13-year run at the top of Best Global Brands, Interbrand has a new #1—Apple. Few brands have enabled so many people to do so much so easily, which is why Apple has legions of adoring fans, as evidenced by the record-breaking launch of the iPhone 5c/5s.”

Interbrand said its methodology for working out value “brings together market, brand, competitor, and financial data” to allow companies to “articulate the contribution of your brand to business results”.

Referring to Coca-Cola’s deposition, the report said: “Though the soft drink giant slips to #3 this year, Coca-Cola has enjoyed a long and illustrious reign for good reason. An enduring classic that has evolved over its 127 years, Coca-Cola remains the most recognizable—and one of the most valuable—brands in the world.”

In a strong year for technology and web-based brands, the other really big risers were Facebook, into 52nd place with its value up 43 per cent to $7.7 billion, and Amazon, into the top 20 with a 27 per cent improvement in value to $23.6 billion.

While Interbrand’s global chief executive Jez Frampton said in a recent interview that it was “a matter of time” before Apple claimed the top spot, Patrick Barwise, Professor of Marketing at London Business School, was more cautious about its lasting prospects.

He told The Times: “We’re more and more moving to the weightless economy where service is very important and where a lot of buying is done for reputational reasons.

“Coca-Cola is a very mature, steady brand with a global presence, so the valuation for Coke will be pretty steady. With technology brands you see more volatility. Twenty years ago people were singing Motorola’s praises.

“Technology brands certainly influence buyer behaviour. They also tend to be very volatile. The table tells you that the most successful technology companies are very profitable and successful. It may also tell you there’s a bubble.”

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