Apple, of course. It should come as little surprise to anyone that the tech giant has surpassed Coca-Cola as the world’s top brand. In a highly subjective ranking such as this, it’s probably a good marketing move to switch up the top spot every now and then. Especially given that Interbrand, the branding consultancy behind the annual ranking, kept Coke as the leading global brand for 13 consecutive years.
So what defines the world’s top brand? Let’s assess the validity of Apple’s ascendance.
Pleasing aesthetics, superior usability, and technology to match are staples of Apple products. iPods revolutionized how we listen to music, iPhones changed how we communicate, and iPads blurred the line between laptop and smartphone. Apple has consistently introduced innovative products and services to the market, earning the company a loyal following that dismisses any attempts at conversion by the competition. Their product releases continue to shatter records and draw international fanfare.
Simplicity in design carries over into simplicity in marketing. Very little of their marketing has more than a white background and the famous silhouette of an apple. The approach in their print, broadcast and digital marketing all has the undertone that Apple is cool and they know it. Not many people around in the early 2000’s will soon forget the Get a Mac campaign, which positioned emerging actor, Justin Long, against the humorist John Hodgman. Against a white background, of course, the young, savvy Long declared “I’m a Mac” while the older, besuited Hodgman reluctantly admitted to being a PC. Not only was the campaign a huge success, but it prompted Microsoft to respond with its own I’m a PC campaign to combat the image of the PC-user being lame.
Being the world’s most valuable company financially certainly helps in your candidacy as a globally leading brand. Apple’s value is pegged at $98.3 billion, a 28% increase over the past year compared to Coca-Cola’s 2% growth. Despite having the highest market value, an argument can be made for the second place brand, Google, for having a larger market share in the smartphone space. Android phones have 55% of the market compared to Apple’s 39% share, and the competition is much close at home than abroad where Google dominates the market.
In the end, however, very few arguments can be made for any company to be considered a stronger brand than Apple…. Unless you think you can make a case in the comments below.