Apple is the world’s most valuable brand in the post-recession world, says the latest 2011 Top 100 ranking of global brands by BrandZ, a Millward Brown subsidiary of advertising company WPP. The iPhone maker, which last year ranked third, knocked Google, the world’s most valuable brand in 2010. Apple emerged ahead other top brands from a variety of industries such as computers, automotive, telcos, banks and clothing, to name just a few.

The organization estimated Apple’s brand value at north of $153 billion, which shouldn’t be confused with Apple’s market capitalization that currently stands at a cool $324 billion. Google’s brand value dropped two percent to an estimated $111.5 billion, enough to rank second.

Apple earned an 84 percent increase in brand value with successful iterations of existing products like the iPhone, creation of the tablet category with iPad, and anticipation of a broadened strategy making the brand a trifecta of cloud computing, software, and innovative, well-designed devices.

The BrandZ rankings were first published five years. Apple’s brand value in the BrandZ rankings increased 859 percent from just $16 billion in 2006, thanks to the successful business with iOS devices that helped Apple become the world’s most profitable handset maker and the biggest mobile devices company by revenue.

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Facebook ($19.1 billion), Amazon ($37.6 billion) and the Chinese search engine Baidu ($22.6 billion) also stand out as year-over-year performers. It’s interesting that Amazon is now the leading retal brand, having beaten Walmart with a 37 percent rise in brand value.

Dell fell off the list this year and Nokia lost 28 percent of its brand value, ending at the #81 slot with an estimated brand value of $10.7 billion. Car maker Toyota rebounded to the #1 rank in cars. Total value of the hundred brands on the BrandZ Top 100 list is an estimated $2.4 trillion.

Another nice quote about Apple:

Apple understood that its customers wanted access to data and images anywhere, anytime, in easy-to-view definition with an easy-to-use touch interface. In a span of a few months, the brand met these needs with the iPad and iPhone 4. Apple trusted that its customers would discover uses  for these products that would help organize, simplify or complicate, but mostly improve their lives. This cocreation approach resulted in roughly 350,000 Apple apps, and it added value to the product and the brand.

They also noted that Apple “continued quietly developing a cloud”, adding an Apple-branded cloud holds the potential to further strengthen the brand as “a trinity of platform, content and device”.

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