Apple is the world’s most valuable brand for 2012, according to Millward Brown’s annual BrandZ report (PDF), which estimates brand values. Apple, which maintained its number one position from 2011’s BrandZ list, saw its brand value rise over 19 percent to nearly $183 billion.
Not surprisingly, technology companies are heavily represented on the list, comprising 30 percent of the list overall and taking four of the top five spots. Below Apple is IBM, Google, and Microsoft in second, third, and fifth place, respectively. Fast food giant McDonalds took fourth place.
With a commanding lead of $67 billion in 2012 (number two Microsoft was valued at $116 billion), Apple’s brand value also shows no signs of slowing. The company scored a 10 on Brand Momentum, a predictor of future performance based on estimated earnings and consumer recognition. No other company in the top 10 scored as high.
Apple also received high marks for the continued expansion and development of its retail division, which BrandZ says helps the company “project a consistent brand experience” when combined with its online presence. Conversely, other tech retailers, such as Best Buy, “struggled to find a new and distinctive place in the market.”
One area where Apple fell short of first place was “Earned Buzz,” BrandZ’s measurement for positive references to a company in online social media, combined with a propriety measurement of online “FanZ.” Apple took third with a Buzz Index score of 1,093, losing out to both Facebook and Google.
The BrandZ valuation list, released each year since 2006, measures companies’ brand values based on financial earnings, consumer opinions, and additional propriety research and analyses. The BrandZ process has been criticized by some market researchers, but remains a popular way of evaluating relative brand strength among the world’s largest companies.