Five most valuable brands

The true value of a great brand goes beyond the tangible. More than just products, services or solutions, these five names represent history, quality, status, reputation and power and, as consumers, we are willing to pay a premium for them. Being in the digital age, it is hardly surprising that four of the five most valuable brands in the world feature technology as their main business. Check out this list compiled by Forbes.

1. Apple

Brand value: US$145.3 billion (S$202.2 billion)

Established in 1976 by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne, Apple leads the tech pack with its Mac computers, iPod media player, iPhone smartphone, iPad tablet, and, most recently, the Apple Watch smart-watch. In its first 15 years, the company found success with its Macintosh computers, but for most of the 1990s, its popularity took a dip, no thanks to changes within the company – including the firing of Jobs, arguably the creative mind behind Apple, competition from other brands, and the launch of consumer products that never really took off. Jobs’ return to Apple as an advisor in 1997 heralded a new “golden age" for the company that has not been challenged, even with Jobs’ demise in 2011.

2. Microsoft

Brand value: US$69.3 billion (S$96.4 billion)

Childhood friends and passionate computer programmers Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft, the world’s leading producer of computer software, in 1976. Their first operating system, called MS-DOS (Microsoft Disk Operating System) was bundled with IBM’s first personal computers and was a huge hit. Since then, Microsoft has grown from strength to strength. After Gates’ resignation as CEO in 2000, many expected Microsoft’s position in the computer industry to slide, but this was not the case, and today, under new CEO Satya Nadella, the company still tops in operating systems, productivity software, and online gaming services.

3. Google

Brand value: US$65.6 billion (S$91.3 billion)

Fellow Stanford University students Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded Google in 1998, “to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful". The company, now headquartered in Mountain View, California, specialises in Internet-related services and products, which includes online advertising technologies, search, cloud computing, and software. Since 2001, Google has acquired a number of other well-known companies, including YouTube in 2006, further raising its profile and value. On 1 September 2015, the company announced a new logo. Still a word-mark, the logo features a sans-serif typeface with softer colours, giving it a more modern and relaxed feel.

4. Coca-Cola

Brand value: $56 billion (S$77.9 billion)

Founded by Atlanta pharmacist Dr John Stith Pemberton in 1886, this iconic brand is known for its distinctive-tasting carbonated soft drink, which originally featured kola nuts, a source of caffeine, and coca leaves. In its first year, drink sales averaged nine servings a day in Atlanta, but presently, about 1.8 billion servings of Coca-Cola beverages are estimated around the world daily. To cater to changing tastes and health trends, the company has, over the years, released other varieties of its popular beverage, like Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Vanilla, and, most recently, Coca-Cola Life, sweetened with sugar and a natural, low-calorie sweetener called Stevia.

5. IBM

Brand value: US$49.8 billion (S$69.3 billion)

International Business Machines Corporation, or IBM, is one of the world’s oldest technology companies, headquartered in Armonk, New York. Apart from manufacturing and marketing computer hardware, middleware and software, IBM also offers infrastructure, cloud and consulting services in a number of different areas. The company has evolved tremendously over the last century, which is not surprising, considering that innovation is the core of its strategy. IBM is one of the world’s biggest employers — in 2012, it had 435,000 employees worldwide. Today, it operates in about 170 countries, with research labs in Melbourne, Rio de Janeiro, Bangalore and Zurich, among other major cities.

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Published 5th November 2015