After 13 years as the Best Global Brand, Coca Cola has lost a bit of its fizz. In the last week, international branding and marketing company, Interbrand, who evaluates companies on their global brand appeal, has named Apple as the Best Global Brand. Interbrand looks at a number of factors, including financial success and market influence in making their list. Tech companies tended to dominate the list this year, with Google taking the second spot, IBM in fourth, Microsoft in fifth and Samsung in eigth.
Image representing Apple as depicted in CrunchBase
In separate news, Emily Chasen of the Wall Street Journal reported that “U.S. nonfinancial companies held $1.48 trillion in cash as of June 30, according to Moody’s review of the more than 1,000 companies it rates. Cash stockpiles have grown by about 2% from $1.45 trillion at the end of last year, and up 81% from $820 billion at the end of 2006.” What makes this relevant to the story about Apple being the top brand is that 10% of those cash reserves, or about $147 billion, belongs to one company…Apple.
So Apple, well known and with lots of cash on hand, is like that kid you resented in high school…more popular and richer than anyone has a right to be.
And just like that kid in high school, the future looks bright for Apple. Their massive cash reserves will afford them the ability to develop or acquire the technology that they need to keep their stable of products popular and in demand. Their ubiquitous name and logo will keep them in the minds of tech-hungry populous. Their aura and mystique and money will provide them some ability to survive the occassional stumble or misstep without losing customer loyalty.
It is somewhat amazing that Apple is on the top brand list at all. In the 90s, the company appeared to be gasping on fumes. Swallowing its pride, the Board of Directors wooed Steve Jobs back to the company he started and the rest, as they say, is history. The other remarkable thing is that Apple has hit this high water mark two years after Jobs’ death. Given past history, some pundits speculated whether Apple could grow, thrive or even survive without Jobs at the helm.
I don’t expect that Apple will repeat Coke’s 13 year run as Best Global Brand. For one, I suspect Coke’s longevity as Best Global Brand had a lot to do with more than a century of strong branding and marketing throughout the world. Apple hasn’t been around that long, nor as consistently successful or global. Second, Google is nipping at Apple’s heels. Coca Cola, at number three, is significantly behind the two tech giants in Brand Value as calculated by Interbrand. More than any other company on the list, Google also has impressive cash reserves and reputation that will allow it to almost compete with Apple, if it chooses, in growth and branding games.
Regardless of what happens in future years, right now, its good to be Apple!