Google has overtaken Apple to become the world’s most valuable global brand in the 2014 BrandZTM Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brand ranking, worth $159 billion, an increase of 40% year on year.
After three years at the top, Apple slipped to No 2 on the back of a 20% decline in brand value, to $148 billion.
Whilst Cupertino remains a top performing brand, the report claims there is a "growing perception that it is no longer redefining technology for consumers, reflected by a lack of dramatic new product launches."
“Google has been hugely innovative in the last year with Google Glass, investments in artificial intelligence and a multitude of partnerships that see its Android operating system becoming embedded in other goods such as cars," says Nick Cooper, Managing Director of Millward Brown Optimor.
"All of this activity sends a very strong signal to consumers about what Google is about and it has coincided with a slowdown at Apple.”
In general, technology service companies have thrived in 2014 as brands focused on products struggled.
Among Millward Brown’s BrandZTM Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands ranking, the top 20 tech companies providing services recorded brand value increases of an average of more than 40% while those making products rose by just 10%.
The clearest example of this pattern comes from Apple and Google, as mentioned above, but the same trend can be seen with Samsung, HP and Sony, all product-dominated companies with a less impressive performance than the likes of Tencent, Facebook and Baidu.
The latter are up 97%, 68% and 46% respectively, while the former have moved +21%, +19% and -1%.
New entrants to the BrandZ Top 100 as well as the Technology Top 20 include two more technology service platforms, Twitter with a brand value of $14 billion and LinkedIn worth $12 billion.
“Digital service brands such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, Tencent and LinkedIn are now more than just tools, they have become part of our lives," adds Peter Walshe, Global BrandZ Director, Millward Brown.
"They offer new forms of communication that absorb people’s attention and imagination, while also helping them organise the rest of their lives at the same time.
"To gain more of our mind-space brands such as Google are making ambitious plays across existing category boundaries,”
Despite the fact that some technology brands are struggling, this remains the largest sector in the BrandZ Top 100 listing worth $841billion in 2014, an increase in the combined value of the Top 20 of 16%.
Sitting at the top of the sector is Google, worth $159 billion thanks to innovations such as Google Glass, investments in artificial intelligence and a multitude of partnerships take its Android operating system into goods such as cars.
This year’s fastest climber was Chinese internet brand Tencent, up 97% to $54 billion and the No 14 position in the overall Top 100, followed by Facebook which rose 68% to $36 billion and took the No 21 spot in the Top 100.
Altogether Technology companies are less than a fifth of the Top 100 but make up nearly a third of the value of the BrandZ Top 100 ranking.
The leading B2B brand IBM held onto its No 3 position with a brand value of $108 billion, however, increased competition in cloud and big data products has slowed down the growth and also affected rivals such as SAP and Oracle.
BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands study, commissioned by WPP and conducted by Millward Brown Optimor, is now in its ninth year with the combined value of the Top 100 has nearly doubling since the first ranking was produced in 2006.
The Top 100 today are worth $2.9 trillion, an increase of 49% compared with the 2008 valuation, which marked the start of the banking and currency crisis.