Kerching! Five most valuable brands in the world unveiled

No prizes for guessing which firm takes the top spot. That's right, it's Apple. But there are a few surprises in the Brand Finance Global 500 too.

by Rebecca Burn-Callander
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013

Apple was touted as the most valuable company in corporate history back in August 2012 – a myth that MT swiftly debunked. But recent research by brand valuation firm Brand Finance has revealed that the tech giant is definitely the most valuable firm in the world right now according to the mystical measure of 'brand value', which comes in at $87bn.

‘Brand value’ differs from market value, and is based on a number of intangibles from customer loyalty to market share. Apple has managed to stay in first place despite the fact that its rating was recently downgraded from AAA+ to AAA after the firm’s enterprise value rocketed from $350bn to $600bn only to dip to $400bn in the space of 12 months.

In second place is ‘Sony killer’ Samsung, with a brand worth $58bn. The South Korean firm has been swiftly gaining market share on Apple over the past year, and its Galaxy S3 has claimed the record for the most pre-ordered smartphone of all time. Samsung’s brand value has rocketed by 54% over the last year and, with yet more new digital consumer products in the pipeline, Apple CEO Tim Cook will be expecting a dogfight over the coming year.

Google, the king of search, a brand that has entered the vernacular as the verb ‘to Google’, is in third place with a brand value of £52.1bn. Compared to Apple and Samsung, however, its brand value has only increased marginally (4.7%) between 2012 and 2013.

Brand Finance CEO David Haigh says of the research: ‘Brand is one of many intangible assets which drive profitable growth. Technology, contractual, human capital and customer intangibles as well as general goodwill all drive overall corporate value.

‘With revenues in the tens of billions, Apple and Samsung are slugging it out for global brand supremacy and are vying with each other to create strong ‘customer love’ for their brands.’

From the most valuable brands to the most powerful: Ferrari races into first place. Owned by Italian car giant Fiat, Ferrari has achieved the highest brand rating in the Global 500 despite being a niche sports car manufacturer.  It is followed by Google, Coca-Cola and, interestingly, PwC in fourth place (providing financial services to the superstar brands generates its own kudos, it seems).

Just this morning Ferrari announced record results for the first nine months of 2012, recording an increase in net profits by 7.6% to €152.4m on a turnover of €1.76bn. However, confusing as it may seem, the 'power' of a brand, as ranked by this research, is not based on turnover or profit, but these values relative to their brand clout and reach.

The top five most valuable brands, and five most powerful brands, are listed below. 

Top five most valuable brands in the world

Rank Brand 2013 Brand Value 2012 Brand Value Change
1 Apple 87.3 70.6 16.7
2 Samsung 58.8 38.2 20.6
3 Google 52.1 47.5 4.7
4 Microsoft 45.5 45.8 (0.3)
5 Walmart 42.3 38.3 4.0

Source: BrandFinance®Global 500 (2013)

 World’s strongest brands according to brand rating (US$ billions)

Rank Brand Brand Rating Rank 2013 Brand Rating Rank 2012


Ferrari 3.6 3.3
2 Google 52.1 47.5
3 Coca-Cola 34.2 31.1
4 PwC 16.4 14.3
5 Hermes 4.5 3.4

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