The World’s Most Powerful Brands (And It’s Not Who You Think)

The Brand Finance Global 500 Report is an annual analysis of the most valuable companies in the world, and its latest edition provides some interesting results. According to the report, Apple has been knocked off the top spot by Google, who saw their value rise by 24 percent in 2016 to $109.4 billion whereas poor Apple plummeted from $145.9 billion to $107.1 billion.

Who knew that Apple was struggling? From afar it seems that its monopoly in the market is at no risk, but new technologies are born every day, especially in China where competitors such as AliPay are eating away at Apple’s stronghold (Apple’s revenue has fallen by 17% in Greater China over the past year).

However most significantly the value of a company is affected by the power of its brand, and this is where Apple falls short. In the same report by Brand Finance, each company is given a Brand Strength Index (BSI) rating out of 100, based on a number of factors including staff satisfaction, emotional connection and sustainability. Taking these metrics into account, Apple gained a score of 92.1 as opposed to Google’s 92.7. David Haigh, the CEO of Brand Finance explained, “Apple has been living on borrowed time for several years by exploiting its accumulated brand equity. This underlines one of the many benefits of a strong brand, but Apple has finally taken it too far.”

Given the importance of brand strength, the highest scorer in the BSI is awarded the title of the most powerful brand and some may be surprised to know that Lego is currently at the top of the leader board. A relatively minute organisation in terms of wealth – their total value stands at $7.6 billion – this Danish toy company has grown from strength to strength in recent years following their foray into the world of film, with two blockbuster movies now under their belt.

In a world where big brands seem to hold the reigns, it’s encouraging to know that sheer financial might is not the only marker of success.