Google, Twitter, Amazon, IBM, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft. Just because they’re all tech companies does not mean they look the same, act the same, or attract the same users. Google sells ads, while Apple sells iProducts, while Amazon sells everything else. But one universal feature of these companies is the value of their brands – and the importance of protecting and enhancing those brands.
A recent report from Millward Brown, a marketing firm specializing in brand valuations, stated that Google has surpassed Apple in terms of brand valuation. According to the report, the value of Google’s brand increased by 40% from 2013 to 2014, while Apple’s brand decreased by 20% in the same period. The report attributes Apple’s decline to several factors: the uncertainty surrounding the company’s future without Steve Jobs at the helm; the “softening” of Apple’s share price; the company’s failure to produce a wearable product; and increasing competition from Samsung and other smartphone producers.
Millward Brown sees Google, on the other hand, as an innovator. With improvements to Gmail, the growing popularity of Google Glass, the development of Android Wearables, and successful marketing methods, Google has flourished in the last year – not to mention its ventures into artificial intelligence, its driverless cars, its numerous (and often surprising) acquisitions, and its year-over-year share increase of more than 20%.
The report explains its methodology, shares its findings, and suggests their implications for the year ahead, but the biggest takeaway from this first-place second-place swap is the importance of innovation and the necessity of flexibility. Tech companies – especially ones that cater to consumers – cannot afford to be perceived as providers of yesterday’s products.