The value of Apple's brand jumped an "astounding" 129 percent in 2012, catapulting the company to the #2 spot just behind brand kind Coca-Cola. Interbrand valued Apple's brand this year at US$76.6 billion, ahead of #3 IBM ($75.5 billion) and behind Coca-Cola's $77.8 billion valuation.
In 2011, Interbrand ranked Apple #8 with a brand value of $33.5 billion, a 58 percent jump from the prior year, when Apple was ranked at #17.
The report separated out the five companies whose brands increased the most, including Apple, Amazon, Samsung, Nissan, and Oracle. Apple's rise dwarfed the competition's, but note that four of the companies are technology companies, and that two of those are rivals to Apple (Amazon and Samsung). Google would have been sixth, with an increaser in brand value of 26 percent.
Interbrand's annual report on global brand value looks at three key factors for quantifying a brand's value:
- The financial performance of the branded products or services.
- The role of brand in the purchase decision process.
- The strength of the brand
When it comes to Apple, the Interbrand report said that, "Few companies have captured our imagination, inspired such devotion, and revolutionized the way we live quite like Apple. While we may assume it’s the products that define Apple, it’s really a certain kind of thinking, a certain set of values, and an unmistakable human touch that pervades everything Apple does — which is why our connections to the brand transcend commerce."
To those of us who have been covering Apple since Bill Clinton was president, that's a refreshingly succinct and accurate way of encapsulating Apple's brand for a mainstream source. There is little doubt that such verbiage will set the Apple haters and Fandroids ablaze in righteous indignation, but in our eyes, Interbrand nailed it.
The report also noted that Apple's brand is "increasingly associated with the luxury sector," and said that, "Apple now produces items that consumers feel they must own to fit in socially."
Again, Interbrand nailed it, but the firm offered a piece of analysis we hadn't considered before by comparing Apple's rise to that of Nike, the shoe and apparel brand. Interbrand noted that Nike transformed the sneaker into a "coveted object with a high price tag," and said that Apple's iPhone and iPad have achieved the same feat.
The comparison came with a warning, however, as Interbrand wrote that, "The Nike model — a golden age of dominance, before relaxing into a complex market sector — may signal the future of Apple, if it’s not careful. The market may move on if Apple’s products cease being a differentiator of class, taste, or cool, but that doesn’t appear to be happening any time soon."
To that end, the report pointed out that Steve Jobs spent the last few years of his life building a leadership team to ensure Apple's ongoing success and filling Apple's product pipeline for the next four years. While not sourced, one can safely presume this was sourced on Walter Isaacson's biography, Steve Jobs.
The full report includes a host of interactive charts and other elements, but we will churlishly offer up only one: a comparison of Apple's brand value to Dell's over the last 11 years.
Apple Brand Value Compared to Dell's Brand Value
Rounding out the top 10 in the 2012 report is:
4.) Google - $69.7 billion (+26 percent)
5.) Microsoft - $57.9 billion (-2 percent)
6.) GE - $43.7 billion (+2 percent)
7.) McDonald's - $40 billion (+13 percent)
8.) Intel - $39.4 billion (+12 percent)
9.) Samsung - $32.9 billion (+40 percent)
10.) Toyota - $30.3 billion (+9 percent)
Dell was ranked #49, with a brand value of $7.6 billion (-9 percent).