Well, it looks Eric Schmidt wasn't far off when he said recently that Microsoft is bigger competition than Facebook for Google -- at least when it comes to overall brand value, that is. According to BrandFinance's latest annual ranking, Google has just barely edged out Microsoft for the title of most valuable brand in the world, with the pair of them pushing Walmart out from the number one spot last year. As for Facebook, it just entered the top 500 for the first time at number 285, while Apple jumped twelve spots to make its first appearance in the top ten at number eight -- a shift that partly comes at the expense of usual suspect Coca Cola, which has dropped out of the top ten for the first time. The biggest loser? Nokia. It dropped all the way from number 21 last year to number 94 this year. Hit up the source link below for the complete list.
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Google grows as Coke goes flat and BP leaks brand value, according to the 2011 BrandFinance® Global 500

• The BrandFinance® Global 500 is the world's most comprehensive brand value league table, ranking the most valuable brands across all major markets
• Google is the most valuable brand in the world ($44.3bn), edging Microsoft ($42.8bn) into second place
• Coca-Cola drops out of the top ten for the first time ($25.8bn)
• BP suffered a $3.4bn loss and falls 53 places
• Facebook enters the table in 285th place with a brand value of $3.7bn
• The US continues to dominate the index; American brands constitute 13 of the top 20 and 26 from the top 500

Rise of the machines

Although the top tier of the BrandFinance® Global 500 contains many household names brands that have existed for decades – IBM, Bank of America, HSBC – the world's increasing dependence on the internet is reflected by Google's position at no. 1. Five of the top ten largest growers are technology-related companies, reinforcing the commercial importance of embracing technological innovation to give a seamless, value-enhancing brand experience for customers and consumers.

'Don't be evil' - Google's dominance of the search engine sector means it tops the 2011 table. The company has repeatedly undertaken ventures that are comparatively un-commercial but have a positive impact on its brand rating (AAA+) which is the highest in the table. These actions include developing services help rescue efforts following the natural disasters in New Zealand and Japan and its growing not-for- profit arm.
Apple's success continues as it moves up twelve places, supported by innovative design, a very loyal consumer base and well-executed marketing activities.

However, Coca Cola has dropped out of the top ten for the first time. This is underpinned by the consumer trend in developed markets to move towards healthier, non-carbonated drinks.

Walmart was one of the few brands to actually increase its brand value during the banking crisis due to its well defined, value-oriented proposition. Its value has dropped slightly but, due to its overall size, its marginal loss (12%) means it also becomes one of the largest losers for 2011.
BP suffered a torrid time in 2010 although, according to a Brand Finance study in August 2010, the brand value had dropped as low as $4.7bn. It has now rebounded to $8.8bn but is facing further problems relating to its partnership with Rosneft.

Nokia suffered the largest fall in brand value – $9.9bn. The company has struggled in the smartphone market, a victim of Apple's success, although the partnership with Microsoft may help to revive their fortunes.

Facebook enters the BrandFinance® Global 500 for the first time with a brand value of $3.7bn. Although monetisation of the world's largest social networking site remains contentious and its product diversification strategy remains relatively opaque, there is little doubt concerning the brand's huge popularity, its effectiveness in entering new markets and stratospheric levels of consumer usage.

David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, said: ''The rise of the technology brands has been expected for some time, although Nokia's fall shows that it is tough to stay at the forefront of such a dynamic industry. Over the last couple of years, we have found that, across many leading companies, senior management are increasingly using brand valuation dashboards to monitor the health of their brands throughout the year in order to make better informed strategic marketing decisions. This trend is likely to continue as the sheer size of these brand values becomes impossible to ignore.''