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2016’s 12 Most Valuable Brands



2016’s 12 Most Valuable Brands

Ever wonder how much your favorite brand is really worth, and how it’s doing compared to other brands? 

BrandZ has answered these questions in its Top 100 ranking of the most valuable brands around the globe in 2016. 

Here is its top twelve:

Brand #1: Google, at $229 billion in value

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Google is at the top of the heap. 

Its value went up a staggering 32% from where it was last year, garnering it the top spot.


As demonstrated by the above graph, it’s easily the most used global search engine. 

So much so that the word Google has become a verb, as in telling someone to google it when you don’t want to have to explain a concept to them.

Also, Alphabet—Google’s parent company—has begun branching out into areas as diverse as anti-aging science and self-driving cars

Positive consumer reaction to these attempts may be part of what pushed Google past Apple and into the number one spot this year.

Google was also number one in the BrandZ ranking in 2014, and consecutively from 2007 to 2010.

Brand #2: Apple, at $228 billion in value

Apple is now trailing slightly behind number one, having gone down 8% in value in the past year.

While the company’s gadgets remain popular, Elspeth Cheung of Millward Brown—the firm that created the BrandZ evaluation—says that Apple needs to work on its people connections, as it may be beginning to lack relevance.

She does, however, praise its investment in Didi Chuxing, the Chinese rival of Uber, as she feels this expansion was a good move.

Brand #3:  Microsoft, at $122 billion in value

This is the second consecutive year that Microsoft has come in third, with its brand valuation climbing by 5%.

Cheung cites Windows 10 as one reason for the brand’s continued success. 

Windows 10 is now the second most used desktop operating system, and Cheung points out that it also works well with tablets, laptops, and mobile devices and even behaves nicely with products by the dreaded Apple.

The company is even working on a Windows Holographic platform.

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Brand #4: AT&T, at $107 billion in value

  • AT&T’s value shot up 20% over the past year
  • Cheung posits that AT&T is changing its relationship with consumers, branching out into entertainment services to become more than a mere telephone provider
  • By acquiring DirecTV last year, AT&T has done wonders for the content it can offer while staying ahead in its sector

Brand #5: Facebook, at $103 billion in value

This is the first time Facebook has appeared in the top 10 for BrandZ when its value went up a staggering 44% this year. 

This should come as no surprise, given how popular it was and has continued to be:


According to the above, most recently published chart, Facebook remains, to say the least, popular on the Internet. 

Furthermore, Cheung says that the company is growing by staking out new territory, such as creating Facebook Bots for Messenger, which will provide users with access to answers on everything from news to shopping to the weather.

Brand #6:  Visa, at $101 billion in value

  • Visa’s value has gone up 10% since last year.
  • Cheung says that it continues to come up with new ways to make payments—for example, the debit ring that is currently in testing.
  • Cheung also points out that Visa makes online security a priority, which consumers approve of.

Brand #7:  Amazon, at $99 billion in value

It’s no secret that Amazon is a big deal online. 

Look at the following chart of how it won on Cyber Monday last year:


Cheung says that the company not only fills existing needs but interests consumers in things they did not know they wanted until they visited the site.  The brand has upgraded its delivery and logistics system to the point where some speculate it may be trying to separate from UPS and FedEx, and its value has skyrocketed 59% since last year.

Brand #8:  Verizon, at $93 billion in value

Verizon’s brand value went up 8% in the past year. 

It plans, via its takeover of AOL, to become big in digital media by marrying a big player in mobile to a big player in content production.

Brand #9: McDonalds, at $89 billion in value

McDonald’s brand value has inched up 9% from last year, even as Cheung acknowledges that it has an image problem with regards to people viewing its food as unhealthy.

It is trying to create a healthy image, and has added massively popular all-day breakfasts to its menu, both of which seem to be helping.

Brand #10:  IBM, at $86 billion in value

IBM is undergoing a difficult transformation into a cloud company, and its brand value has slid 8% this year as a result. 

It has also been going through a decline in sales for 16 consecutive quarters, including the worst it has seen since the year 2002.

However, Cheung says that consumers have been wowed by the fact that the company is looking into artificial intelligence and cognitive computing.

Brand #11:  Tencent, at $84.9 billion in value

You may or may not have heard of Tencent.

They are a Chinese company who specialize in value-added Internet, mobile, and telecom. 

They also do online advertising.

Their brand value increased 11% this year.

Brand #12:  Marlboro, at $84.1 billion in value

Yes, Marlboro. 

Besides the fact that they produce an arguably addictive commodity, their brand value nudged up 5% this year. 

In spite of this, the brand dropped two rankings since last year, falling out of the top ten.


While many of the inhabitants of the top twelve list are unsurprising once you consider their popularity, it is still fascinating to see which brands rank where and why. 

For the full top 100 list, see page 16 of BrandZ’s full report, which is available online.

One thing many of the top contenders seem to have in common is innovation, especially innovation of a sort that captures the public’s imagination.  Yes, they are large companies, but they are also trying new things, and piquing the interests of new consumers. 

Perhaps this is something that everyone, from the biggest corporation to the smallest start-up, can learn from.

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