Apple's Brand Value Tanks, Google Recaptures No. 1 Spot: Report

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Google has overtaken Apple as the world's most valuable brand, as the search giant returns to the No. 1 spot after a six-year hiatus, according to Brand Finance Global 500 report.

Apple plummeted 36% to $107 billion in 2016, the report said, while Google jumped to $109.4 billion, up from $88.2 billion in 2015.

"Apple has struggled to maintain its technological advantage, with new iterations of the iPhone delivering diminishing returns, while the Chinese market is now crowded with local competitors," David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, said in a statement. "Apple has been living on borrowed time for several years by exploiting its accumulated brand equity. This underlines one of the many benefits of a strong brand, but Apple has finally taken it too far."

The former No. 1 brand received plenty of flack for ditching the headphone jack with the iPhone 7. More so, many creatives felt alienated after seeing the specs for the topline MacBook Pro. The backlash has clearly affected Apple's brand, Mr. Haigh said.

Meanwhile, Lego regained its status as the world's most powerful brand ahead of the "Lego Batman Movie" release. In a digital era, Lego found a way to maintain relevancy with its Lego brand video games, which helped pave the way for 2014 surprise hit "The Lego Movie," which generated more than $469 million globally, according to Box Office Mojo. Three other movies are slated for release by 2018.

"Unvalued brands can lead to undervalued companies that are more vulnerable to takeover, struggle to secure adequate financing and miss market opportunities," Mr. Haigh said. "Meanwhile a powerful brand can protect a company's value during turbulent market conditions, create new market opportunities and increase profit margins. All companies should therefore not just know the value of their brands, but also understand what drives that value and how it can be harnessed to benefit the business as a whole."

Other tidbits from the report:

  • AT&T has overtaken Verizon to become the world's most valuable telecoms brand
  • Emirates is no longer the most valuable airline brand, having been overtaken by American, United and Delta
  • Coca-Cola, Pepsi, McDonalds, KFC and Subway all saw their brand values fall, undermined by healthy eating trends