The World's 20 Most Valuable Technology Brands12:00 PM EST Wed. May. 29, 2013
Every year MillwardBrown, the brand marketing consulting firm, releases its BrandZ list of the most recognized global brands, including IT companies. Using the BrandZ database of 2 million consumers, the company calculates a company's "brand value" -- defined as the dollar amount a brand contributes to a corporation's overall value.
Here are the 20 business-to-business and business-to-consumer technology companies with the highest brand values and a few thoughts about how they got there. We also cite where the companies stand on the overall BrandZ list of 100 best-known brands and looked back to last year's listing to see whose brand is on the rise and whose could use some polishing.
Note: Technology brands 17 through 20 didn't break into the overall Top 100 list. Also, BrandZ lists telecommunications companies separately, so brands like AT&T (No. 6 on this year's overall list) and China Mobile (No. 10) are not included. Also not on this list are Amazon.com (No. 14) and eBay (No. 47), which BrandZ categorizes as "retailers."
Brand Value: $4.5 billion
The printer and imaging systems manufacturer dropped from No. 17 on the 2012 technology brands list as its brand value declined by 33 percent.
Still, Canon remains a mainstay in the channel with its printers. The CRN Test Center recently gave high grades to the Canon ImageClass MF8580 color laser multifunction printer designed for small offices.
Brand Value: $4.7 billion
The multinational electronics company is new to the BrandZ list in 2013. The company manufactures consumer electronics products, health-care devices and lighting products.
Brand Value: $4.9 billion
Dell occupies the same spot on this list as it did in 2012, despite the fact its brand value declined 25 percent this year. The wrangling over CEO Michael Dell's efforts to take the company private could be tarnishing the company's brand. Or the Dell name may not be as visible today as consumers buy more tablet computers and sales of PCs -- Dell's most recognized product -- shrink.
Brand Value: $7.8 billion
There was a time when the Sony name was one of the most globally recognized brands and arguably the leader in consumer electronics. But today it doesn't even make the top 100 list (it was No. 86 in 2012). And this year's brand value is down 9 percent from 2012, dropping the company one notch on the list of technology company rankings from No. 16 last year.
While Sony was once widely seen as an innovator, it's lost its edge in recent years and in fiscal 2012 the company reported a loss of 520 billion yen -- more than $6 billion.
Brand Value: $9.8 billion
Despite Yahoo's revolving-door management and its struggles to generate revenue growth, the company -- for the first time -- made it into the top 20 most valuable technology brands and onto the top 100 (at No. 92, right behind Kentucky Fried Chicken and just ahead of banking giant J.P. Morgan) of 100 most valuable brands. That shows that despite its well-publicized difficulties, the Yahoo name still carries quite a bit of cachet.
Brand Value: $11.8 billion
Cisco has been slipping in the BrandZ rankings in recent years. This year its brand value was down 11 percent from 2012, which was, in turn, an 18 percent drop from 2011. While Cisco fell only one notch on the technology brand rankings this year, its ranking among the top 100 brands plummeted 18 spots to No. 77. That puts it right behind retailer Target and just ahead of oil and gas company BP.
Cisco remains one of the most important companies within the IT industry and certainly within the channel. But a little more investment in brand-building might be in order.
Brand Value: $12.3 billion
Siemens, a major electronics and industrial conglomerate, moved up one spot on both the technology brands list and on the top 100 brands ranking where it made No. 72 this year (right behind Honda). That gain came because the Munich, Germany-based company's brand value grew 16 percent this year.
Brand Value: $13.8 billion
Maybe it's time to bring back that "Intel Inside" marketing campaign. Intel's brand value declined 12 percent this year, dropping the semiconductor maker's ranking on the top 100 by 12 places to No. 61 -- one spot ahead of FedEx. On the list of technology brands it slipped one spot from No. 12 last year.
While Intel dominates the PC chip market, it has struggled competitively in the mobile device arena against rivals such as AMD and manufacturers of ARM chips. Returning the company to its once-dominant place in the IT world is now the task of newly appointed Intel CEO Brian Krzanich.
Brand Value: $16.4 billion
This is a case of how the kind of turmoil Hewlett-Packard has experienced in recent years can damage a company's brand. HP's brand value declined 29 percent this year, knocking the company down a whopping 28 spots to No. 54 on the top 100 brands list -- putting it three spots behind fast food company Subway.
This year HP is No. 12 on the list of 20 most valuable technology brands: Last year it was No. 8. CEO Meg Whitman has a multiyear plan to turn the company around as the company fights to regain its momentum in the competitive server and PC markets.
Brand Value: $16.5 billion
Systems integrator Accenture boosted its brand value by 2 percent, but that wasn't enough to hold onto its 2012 ranking in the top 100 brands. The company fell eight spots to No. 53, putting it just ahead of No. 54 HP.
Accenture's No. 11 spot on the top technology brands was unchanged from last year.
Accenture was No. 3 on CRN's Solution Provider 500 ranking last year. This year's Solution Provider 500 will be published in the June issue of CRN and it will be interesting to see how Accenture fares.
Brand Value: $20.0 billion
Oracle's brand value took an 11 percent hit this year, pushing the company down one notch on the top technology brands list. Oracle was No. 36 on the top 100 brands list, down nine slots from its 2012 ranking.
A few years ago Oracle appeared to be an unstoppable software juggernaut. But more recently the company has stalled somewhat as it works to leverage the hardware technology it gained through its 2010 acquisition of Sun Microsystems. In its third fiscal quarter ended Feb. 28 the company reported a 1 percent decline in revenue, including a 2 percent drop in software license and cloud subscription revenue and a 23 percent drop in hardware sales.
It will apparently take more than the Oracle name painted on the side of a racing yacht in this year's America's Cup competition to boost the Oracle brand.
Brand Value: $20.4 billion
Baidu, a Web services company in China that's often described as that company's answer to Google and Yahoo, saw its brand value decline by 16 percent this year, dropping the company's ranking on the top technology brands list by two spots.
On the overall top 100 brands list, its 2013 ranking was down eight spots to No. 33 -- one spot higher than No. 34 Budweiser.
Brand Value: $21.3 billion
No technology company took a bigger hit this year than Facebook, which saw its brand value plummet 36 percent. That dropped the company from No. 5 on last year's top technology brands list, and from No. 19 on the top 100 brands list in 2012, to No. 31 this year.
Negative publicity around Facebook's widely panned IPO last year undoubtedly took a toll on Facebook's reputation. There are also ongoing questions about the company's business model for "monetizing" its 1.1 billion users and frequent criticisms about the company's privacy practices.
On both the technology and top 100 brand lists, Facebook is now immediately behind ...
Brand Value: $21.4 billion
Samsung was one of the biggest winners this year as its brand value soared 51 percent, boosting the company from No. 13 on last year's top technology brands list. On the overall top 100 brands list Samsung is now No. 30, up from No. 55 last year.
It's fair to say that Samsung today is where Sony was a decade ago -- a leading player in both business and consumer electronics. From its television sets and DVD players, to its popular smartphones, to its laptop and tablet computers, Samsung is firing on all cylinders. The vendor's Galaxy smartphone and Galaxy Tab tablet are the main competitor to Apple's iPhone and iPad products.
Brand Value: $27.3 billion
Tencent, a Chinese Internet and media company, was this year's biggest gainer in the technology arena as its brand value skyrocketed 52 percent from less than $18 billion in 2012. The company moved up four spots on the top technology brands list from No. 10 last year, and it gained 16 spots on the top 100 brands list to reach No. 21, putting it right behind MasterCard.
Tencent's services include the popular WeChat utility for voice and text communications, social networks and portals, e-commerce services and online multiplayer games.
Brand Value: $34.4 billion
SAP boosted its brand value by 34 percent this year, moving it up one spot on the top technology brands list and three spots to No. 19 on the top 100 brands rankings.
Considering that SAP develops applications and system software used by businesses, the company's brand ranking -- right behind retail giant Wal-Mart and just ahead of MasterCard -- is pretty remarkable.
SAP's stated goal is to have 1 billion people using its software by 2015 and the company's steadily improving ranking is perhaps a result of efforts to meet that goal. The company's ranking should also cheer the company's growing number of channel partners -- after all, the more people who value the SAP brand, the easier it is for partners to sell SAP products.
Brand Value: $69.8 billion
Microsoft's brand lost 9 percent of its value this year (it was worth close to $77 billion in 2012), slipping behind AT&T and Coca-Cola, but staying one slot ahead of Marlboro. While that was enough to retain the No. 4 perch on the top technology brands list, the software developer fell two spots to No. 7 on the top 100 brands ranking.
At its peak of industry power in the '90s Microsoft's brand value was undoubtedly higher. But while millions still see the familiar Windows logo every day when they crank up their PCs, the Microsoft name just doesn't have quite the cachet it once did.
Blame the company's less-than-successful efforts to break into such consumer products as smartphones and tablet computers. Or the fact there are just so many computing alternatives today to using Windows and Office on a desktop PC.
Brand Value: $112.5 Billion
IBM was No. 3 on both the top technology brands and top 100 brands list. While impressive, that's a drop from the No. 2 post on both lists last year as the company's brand value slipped 3 percent. Still, give kudos to IBM for staying so high on the list. The company was once so powerful that the U.S. government pursued a 13-year antitrust case against the company.
Today, as less of a dominant player in the industry and with its consumer product operations sold off to other vendors, IBM just isn't the household name it once was. But in the business world there are apparently enough people who work with IBM products to keep that Big Blue logo among the top brands.
Who knocked IBM out of the No. 2 slot…?
Brand Value: $113.7 billion
Google surpassed IBM this year to become the world's second-most valuable brand, as well as No. 2 on the list of top technology brands.
Google, of course, benefits from having its multicolored logo prominently displayed every time a Web surfer uses its search engine -- more than 1 billion times every day (more than 620 million daily visitors). And the Google brand became even more ubiquitous with such moves as the 2006 acquisition of YouTube and the launch of the popular Android mobile operating system in 2007 and Chrome browser in 2008.
Can it become the No. 1 brand? Possibly, if it continues to find new ways to work its way into our daily lives. Will we see the Google logo every time we don our Google glasses?
Brand Value: $185.1 billion
Apple, according to the BrandZ listing, is the most valuable brand -- and the most valuable technology brand -- in the world, the same positions it occupied on each list in 2012. The company managed to increase its brand value by 1 percent from last year's $183 billion, despite having a less-than-stellar year that included a plunging stock price and such misfires as the iOS Maps debacle.
The question is whether Apple can maintain its top ranking. It's been a while since the company launched a ground-breaking new product and it's unclear whether the company, in a future without Steve Jobs, can maintain its aura of innovation.