Apple is once again the world's most valued brand, propelled forward by strong iPhone 6 sales.
According to Millward Brown's BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands report (.PDF), the iPad and iPhone maker displayed "remarkable" brand strength, returning to the number one ranking due to the iPhone 6's success -- contributing to $18 billion in quarterly net profit.
In total, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company's brand value rose by 67 percent to an estimated $247 billion, clawing back the top spot after losing it last year to Google, which slipped through a valuation of $174 billion despite an increase of nine percent in brand value.
The annual assessment ranks top brands by various factors, including canvassing the opinions of over two million consumers and accounting for more than 10,000 different brands in over 30 countries, combining this with financial analyst data as well as earnings reports.
According to the research, the top 100 brands' value increased by 14 percent to $3.3 trillion, and technology companies including Apple, Microsoft, Tencent, Facebook and Amazon are contributing to the rapid growth of the category; increasing 24 percent over the last year.
Microsoft, in third with an estimated brand value of $116 billion propelled by a brand increase of 28 percent, experienced a "brand comeback" through "as [the firm] adjusted for success in markets that had changed substantially," according to the report.
The assessment cited the leadership change at the company, now under the control of CEO Satya Nadella, as an indication of a shift in corporate culture and new flexibility the modern-day consumer expects.
In fourth place, IBM's brand value slipped by 13 percent to $93 billion, while Intel's brand value rose by 58 percent through the firm's shift of cloud computing.
Facebook's brand value almost doubled, increasing by 99 percent -- following a 68 percent rise in 2014. Millward Brown places this value increase on recent acquisitions which will keep the brand "relevant with younger users" -- such as the purchases of Instagram and WhatsApp -- as well as an increased mobile presence and advertising sales growth. The firm is currently placed 12th in the global rankings.
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba entered the ranks for the first time in 2015, rising immediately to first place in the retail category due to the success of its $25 billion initial public offering with an overall estimated brand value of $66.4 billion.
The top 20 global brands are below: