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Ad Week reports that an annual brand equity study commissioned by WPP and conducted by Millward Brown concludes that "after three years of owning the top spot in the 'BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands' study, Apple has slipped to the No. 2 spot behind Google. The manufacturer's brand value fell 20 percent year-over-year to $148 billion, due in large part to the company’s well-publicized recent lack of innovation. Google, on the other hand, has kept throwing money into a number of different initiatives including mapping, wearables, payments and social media to up its brand value 40 percent, representing $159 billion."

IBM is third in the rankings, followed by Microsoft. McDonald's is fifth, and the only non-tech company in the top five. Six through ten are Coca-Cola, Visa, AT&T, Marlboro and Amazon.

In the retail sector, Amazon is ranked at the top in terms of brand equity, followed by Walmart (which has the 22nd spot overall). Other retailers on the top-50 list include Starbucks at #31, Home Depot at #40, Subway at #43, and IKEA at #50.
KC's View:
If a tobacco brand makes the list, you know it must be a global study. (Can't imagine many tobacco companies have high levels of brand equity in the US, where, quite appropriately, they've been demonized and marginalized.)

It will be interesting to see if Apple is able to recover from what is termed its "well-publicized recent lack of innovation." Fascinating that a company that has contributed so much to the technology revolution, and that continues to make products that many of us cling to like life preservers, can see its brand equity decline (at least in the estimation of one study). Just shows how important it is to keep innovating, to maintain momentum, to keep finding new and unexpected ways to be relevant to one's community of users.