Top brand Apple eyes the cloud

AppleIn the technology sector of the Brandz Top 100 Global Brands, it was all about Apple and Facebook. These brands are not only hugely successful, they are shaping the way we live and do business. And, like anyone who wants to be a player in the tech sector, they've got their heads in the cloud.
With a brand value of $153,285m, Apple is not only the number one technology brand, it is the world's most valuable brand. Its successful marriage of platform, content and device arguably illustrates more clearly than other other brand the power that modern brands have.

In the six years the Brandz list has run, Apple's brand value has increased by 859%. Eileen Millward, CEO of Millward Brown which runs the Brandz survey, said: "By nurturing its brand and consistently innovating, Apple is able to command a high price premium and weather economic turbulence."

Expand to the cloud

Apple's next move is widely rumoured to be a further expansion into cloud computing, remote storage facilities which allow consumers to access content at will. Facebook is the largest of the public clouds, and its 246% increase in brand value took it into the top 10.

Stephen Yap of TNS says in the report that Facebook "has transcended its roots as a social network to become very much an aggregator of all kinds of communication and entertainment activities that people do on their computers and mobile devices. Facebook is... becoming the dominant platform."

TV and the internet are becoming increasingly linked and, says the report: "Facebook and Twitter, cloud venues for the latest content, became the water coolers for conversation about last night's TV shows." The survey also talks of tech brands deepening bonds with customers by insinuating themselves into consumers' personal lives.

Brands to matter less

As access to cloud computing becomes more popular, the need for the kind of structured databases provided by the likes of Oracale and Siemans, or for the need to have the near ubiquitous Intel chips inside your device will be reduced. Indeed, the cloud may mean consumers care little about the brand they use.

And that's where Apple comes in again. It has a phenomenally strong emotional and functional brand appeal and if any brand survives a mood to a brandless tech world, it looks better placed than most. Its own cloud offer may see it move to 'own' the concept for the brand in much the same way as the company has done with the music download market.

The Most Valuable Technology Brands 2011

1 Apple $153,285 (up 84% on last year)
2 Google $111,498m (down 2%)
3 IBM $100,849m (up 17%)
4 Microsoft $78,243m (up 2%)
5 HP $35,404m (down 11%)
6 Oracle $26,948m (up 95)
7 SAP $26,078m (up 7%)
8 Blackberry $24,623m (down 20%)
9 Baidu $22,555m (up 141%)
10 Facebook $19,102m (up246%)

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