The annual list of the worlds most valuable brands have been published, by Interbrand, and this year, the big news is the ascension of Apple to the throne, at the expense of Coca Cola.
However a closer look at this highly instructive chart throws up some more interesting insights.
First, that Coke has dropped two spots, and Google is now the second most valuable brand, after Apple. Neither of these two brands were in the top 10 in this chart before 2008. The visual itself shows the 2 dramatically steep rises for Apple and Google, compared to anything else in this picture. I believe Warren Buffet once said he would not invest in something he did not want his family to use. It is more than likely that Apple and Google pass this test with flying colours.
Second, the dominance of technology in this decade is brought sharply into focus in this chart. There are a number of Automotive, Entertainment and Telecom companies in the mix, but with the exception of Coke, the top half of this is increasingly dominated by technology companies. IBM is definitely more of a technology company than a “business services and diversified” company. GE too has an increasingly technology focus. In fact, in 2013, GE formed a Science and Technology Committee within the board and elected among others, Francisco D’Souza, CEO of Cognizant to the commitee.
Third and most tellingly, a closer look at the top 10 brands of 2013 suggests that 6 out of the 10 companies have a strong link to mobile technologies. Apple, Google and Samsung define the mobile industry today. IBM’s advertisements such as this highlight the focus on mobile technologies. Microsoft’s recent $7.2 billion acquisition of Nokia and it’s Windows 8 strategy leave no doubt about it’s intentions. (Remember, the PC market is shrinking at over 10% year on year). And Intel too, is seeking to escape the downward gravitational pull of the PC market. The new CEO, Krzanich has already announced the focus will be on mobile and wearable chips.
Even for the other four companies, Mobile is increasingly at the heart of their strategies. Coke feels that mobile is the closest they can get to their customer, calling it “between reach and desire”. McDonalds is experimenting with mobile payments at some outlets. Toyota, like many other major organisations have rolled out BYOD systems and led large scale mobile marketing initiatives. In fact you could argue that the likelihood that these companies will stay in this top 10 list in future may well be linked closely to their proficiency in the mobile space.