Apple Tops 2011 BrandZ Brand Value List; Marlboro Still in Top 10

Millward Brown released its 2011 BrandZ Brand Value Top 100 Rankings on Monday, and although the top headline is that Apple has dethroned Google from the top of the list, it's also interesting that Marlboro, a cigarette company, remains in the Top 10.

This is an annual set of rankings, which shows the value attributed to a specific brand, as determined by Millward Brown's criteria. Apple's BrandZ Brand Value rose 84 percent from 2010, to $153.3B. The ranking report added that the Brand Value given for Apple was the same as Peru's GDP.

Meanwhile, Google's Brand Value didn't plummet, but only dropped some 2 percent to still far behind its competitor. At the same time, IBM rose some 17 percent, to $110.8B.

The remainder of the top 10 were:

4. McDonald's 81B, up 23 percent
5. Microsoft, $78.2B
6. Coca-Cola $73.7B
7. AT&T $69.9B
8. Marlboro $67.5B (surprising, perhaps, but remember that the Brand Value report is based on global brand value)
9. China Mobile $57.3B (China Mobile is China's largest telecom)
10. General Electric $50.3B

Millward Brown uses the following methodology to complete its BrandZ's Brand Value:

1. Branded Earnings

What proportion of a company’s earnings is generated "under the banner of the brand?" First, we identify the portion of total company earnings generated by each business that carries the brand. For example, in the case of Coca-Cola, some earnings are not branded Coca-Cola, but come from Fanta, Sprite, or Minute Maid. From these branded earnings, we subtract capital charges. This ensures that we only capture value above and beyond what investors would require any investment in the brand to earn – the value the brand adds to the business. This provides a bottom-up view of the earnings of the branded business.

2. Brand Contribution

How much of these branded earnings are generated due to the brand’s close bond with its customers? Only a portion of these earnings can be considered as driven by brand equity. This is the “Brand Contribution,” the measure that describes the degree to which brand plays a role in generating earnings. This is established through analysis of country-, market-, and brand-specific customer research from the BrandZ database.

This guarantees that the Brand Contribution is rooted in real-life customer perceptions and behavior, not spurious “expert opinion.” The Brand Contribution allows us to capture differences in the importance of brands by category and by country, the role of brand versus other factors such as price and location, and changing customer priorities. In some categories, such as luxury goods, cars, or beer, brand is very important. Over the past five years, the importance of brand has risen. Brand Contribution is calculated as a percentage, but displayed as an index from 1 to 5 (5 is the highest).

3. Brand Multiple

What is the growth potential of the brand-driven earnings? In the final step, the growth potential of these branded earnings is taken into account. Both financial projections and consumer data is used . This provides an earnings multiple aligned with the methods used by the analyst community. It also takes into account brand-specific growth opportunities and barriers.

Other interesting results from the report include Facebook's leap into the Top 100, for the first time. Now at No. 35, it rose an amazing 246 percent year-over-year, to $19.1B. It was also the top riser in the report, but China's Baidu search engine has similar numbers. It rose 141 percent to be the second fastest riser, and now sits at No. 29, with brand value of $22.6B.

Amazon.com's slipped past WalMart to become the top-branded retailer. Amazon.com ($37.6B) is now at No. 14, while Walmart is just behind at No. 15 at $37.3B, respectively.

The report was done prior to the Japan earthquake. This might prove significant for GE, since GE's ranking could be affected by the fact that earthquake-affected Japan reactors were built by GE.

Image Source: Millward Brown

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