Most powerful brands: Sure Google is No. 1, but Apple shines as does tech overall

Millward Brown is out with its annual ranking of most powerful brands and Google is the top dog, but let's not forget the broader technology story here: Six out of the top 10 brands are technology companies. Apple and Blackberry brands are surging and folks even like their wireless carriers these days.

Millward Brown is out with its annual ranking of most powerful brands and Google is the top dog, but let's not forget the broader technology story here: Six out of the top 10 brands are technology companies. Apple and Blackberry brands are surging and folks even like their wireless carriers these days.

Here are a few snippets of the top 25 from Millward Brown's BrandZ 2008 report released Monday.

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As I look at that chart, I almost wonder what the hubbub about Google is about (Techmeme). Is it more notable that Google is ranked No. 1 or that Apple's brand equity has jumped 123 percent? How about Microsoft's brand value growth for 2008 matching Google's? China Mobile at No. 5?

But the broader story is that technology brands have moved to the forefront at the expense of the financial sector. And there's a good reason for that. Consumers are becoming more intimate with their wireless services and devices even as they struggle to pay the bills (to the banks incidentally). According to the BrandZ report:

The technology sector (including mobile operators), which accounted for 28 of the Top 100 brands, outperformed all other categories in this year's BrandZ Ranking, with a brand value growth of $187.5bn. This is more than half of the Top 100's total increase.

Here's the technology specific split:

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And the mobile operators category:

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A peak at the 10 companies that didn't break the top 25 also indicate that technology companies are on the move with Oracle (No. 26), Intel (No. 27), SAP (No. 29) and Verizon Wireless (No. 33) showing good brand equity growth over 2007. Oracle's brand growth was up 29 percent from a year ago compared to SAP's 20 percent.

Other odds and ends that are notable:

  • Dell (No. 41) showed brand equity growth of 10 percent. Is this a sign of a nascent turnaround.
  • Blackberry as a brand (No. 51) showed brand equity gains of 390 percent. That continues the wireless device theme.
  • AT&T (No. 55) showed brand equity growth of 30 percent. That has to be iPhone related.
  • Amazon (No. 61) had brand equity growth of 93 percent. I wonder how much of that is related to Amazon Web Services vs. gaining share at eBay's expense. EBay was No. 65 with brand equity down 13 percent.
  • Yahoo (No. 62) showed a 13 percent decline in brand equity.

The report is an interesting read, but the methodology could be debated--especially since the whole brand value thing is based on intangible assets. Here's how the figures are calculated for the BrandZ report.

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