Google has been named the world’s most valuable brand, after a strong 2016 saw it knock Apple from the top spot.
The search giant climbed from second to first, after its brand value rose 24 percent during 2016, from US$88.2 billion (AU$116.4 billion) to US$109.4 billion.
Meanwhile, Apple slipped from second to first, due to a 27 percent fall in its brand value, from US$145.9 billion to US$107.1 billion.
Amazon remained in third place, with a brand value of US$106.4 billion, according to the Global 500 Report, which was published by valuation consultancy Brand Finance.
The annual ranking is based on the value of a company’s brand, rather than its actual financial position. Brand value is calculated by analysing marketing investment, familiarity, loyalty, staff satisfaction and corporate reputation.
Eight of the top 10 spots (see list below) were occupied by tech companies, the exceptions being Walmart and ICBC (Industrial and Commercial Bank of China).
Samsung Group and ICBC were the only non-American companies in the top 10.
Google’s number-one ranking marks the first time since 2011 it has occupied top spot.
“The company remains largely unchallenged in its core search business, the mainstay of its advertising income,” according to Brand Finance.
“Ad revenues were up 20 percent in 2016 as budgets are increasingly directed online and Google finds more innovative ways to monetise users.”
Apple, though, has struggled to maintain its technological advantage, with new versions of the iPhone delivering diminishing returns, according to Brand Finance.
“Apple has been living on borrowed time for several years by exploiting its accumulated brand equity. This underlines one of the many benefits of a strong brand, but Apple has finally taken it too far.”
While Apple has declined, Nokia has returned to the Global 500 ranking, at 341st, following its takeover of Alcatel-Lucent.
1. Google – US$109.4 billion
2. Apple – US$107.1 billion
3. Amazon – US$106.4 billion
4. AT&T – US$87.0 billion
5. Microsoft – US$76.3 billion
6. Samsung Group – US$66.2 billion
7. Verizon – US$65.9 billion
8. Walmart – US$62.2 billion
9. Facebook – US$62.0 billion
10. ICBC – US$47.8 billion