Apple passes Coca-Cola as most valuable brand

Apple passed Coca-Cola to become the world’s most valuable brand, according to a study from the brand consulting firm Interbrand. The survey found that Apple’s brand value rose 28 percent in the past year.

Coca-Cola, slipped to third place, behind Apple and Google after spending 13 years at the top of the list.

Brand value, according to Interbrand’s methodology page, is calculated using a number of factors, such as requirements that 30 percent of a company’s revenues must come from outside its home region, that it must have a presence on at least three continents, and that it’s expected to be profitable for the foreseeable future.

Tech brands made up four of the five fastest-growing brands in the top 100, with Apple, Google (+28%) , Facebook (+43%) and Amazon (+27%) all climbing more than 25 percent in the past year. Samsung also saw a year of growth, up 20 percent from last year’s survey. Microsoft saw a bump of 3 percent, because of its moves in the enterprise space and attempts to respond to the mobile marketplace, according to the survey.

While acknowledging that Apple has had a bumpy year, Interbrand said that the Cupertino, Calif., company’s brand has “remained steady” partly because of the leadership of chief executive Tim Cook in the face of questions about everything from the labor practices in the firm’s overseas plants to the company’s tax strategies. Excitement about the company’s upcoming products such as Mac OS X, Mavericks, the redesigned, cylindrical Mac Pro, and rumored products such as the Apple “iWatch,” Interbrand said, all demonstrate that the company’s reputation for innovation is intact.

However, the firm said, that doesn’t mean that it will be smooth sailing for Apple.

“The focus for the future is clear: Apple must succeed in slowing Samsung’s momentum and capture the booming Chinese mobile market,” Interbrand wrote on the survey Web site. “Whether or not the brand can accomplish this remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: The world is waiting for the next iteration of Steve Jobs’ classic ‘one more thing’ announcement, and clear proof of his declaration that the brand’s ‘brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it.’” 

While many tech firms did well on the survey, it wasn’t all good news. Some of the fastest-falling brands included Nokia (-65%), Nintendo (-14%) and Dell (-10%). Other tech firms that lost brand value include Intel (-5%), Sony (-8%) and Hewlett-Packard (-1%).

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.

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