A hugely successful run in the past year has vaulted Apple past Google as the world's most valuable corporate brand, according to the latest annual study by BrandZ.
Apple's brand value is $153.3 billion, a gain of 84 percent over its $83.2 billion value in the 2010 BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands study, in which the personal electronics company placed third.
(Also see: Google likes this brand survey more)
Search giant Google, which was named the top global brand for the previous four years, slipped to second place with a brand value of $111.5 billion, down 2 percent from $114.3 billion in 2010.
No. 3 IBM's global brand value increased 17 percent to $100.8 billion from $86.4 billion last year, when Big Blue was runner-up to Google.
Overall, technology brands make up one-third of the Top 100 brands (you can see the entire report here).
Microsoft's brand value gained 2 percent to $81.0 billion, but the software giant slipped to No. 5 from No. 4 last year, surpassed by McDonald's.
AT&T was ranked No. 7 with a brand value of $69.9 billion.
"What about Facebook?" I can hear readers asking. The social networking leader made the BrandZ list for the first time, finishing No. 35 with a brand value of $19.1 billion. That put Facebook, whose brand value increased 246 percent over last year's, on top of BrandZ's list of fastest risers in 2011.
The second-fastest riser was China's Baidu search engine, which gained 141 percent in brand value over last year to $22.6 billion, placing it No. 29 overall.
Amazon.com pushed past Walmart to become the top retail brand with a value of $37.6 billion, up 37 percent from last year. Amazon was ranked No. 14 this year.
So as I was reading the survey, I wondered how these "brand values" correlate to actual market capitalization. Here are how Apple, Google, IBM and Microsoft stack up:
Brand Value: $153.3 billion
Market Cap: $320.4 billion
BV as % of MC: 48%
Brand Value: $111.5 billion
Market Cap: $134.2 billion
BV as % of MC: 83%
Brand Value: $100.8 billion
Market Cap: $204.5 billion
BV as % of MC: 49%
Brand Value: $78.2 billion
Market Cap: $216.4 billion
BV as % of MC: 36%
I don't know what any of it means, but it's interesting that Google's BrandZ "brand value" is such a high percentage of its total market cap. And why is Apple's "brand value" less than half of its market cap if it has the highest brand value in the world? Isn't Apple's "brand" a huge part of its success and corporate value?
I demand answers, BrandZ.