Millward Brown’s full report on its 10th annual brand equity ranking sheds light on why Apple regained its #1 ranking from Google. The company bases its rankings on the perceptions of more than 3 million consumers across 50 countries.

With a 67 percent rise in Brand Value to $247 billion, Apple returned to number one in the BrandZ™ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands ranking. Success of the iPhone 6 and the related excitement surrounding the Apple brand drove the increase. Apple also led in the rate of brand value growth over 10 years – 1,446 percent.

The company noted that Apple’s remarkable growth in long-term brand equity was evident in the fact that it didn’t even make the top 100 brands when Millward Brown began its BrandZ measurements just ten years ago … 

Apple’s ranking reflects the strength of both consumer loyalty to the brand, as well as trust in the company, says the report. It also notes that other brands have benefited from the popularity of Apple Pay.

Apple was buoyed by not only the iPhone 6 launch and news of the hotly anticipated Apple Watch, but also by the launch of HealthKit and Apple Pay. The latter in particular had spillover effects beyond the technology category – its launch partners like Bank of America also enjoyed a dose of consumer appreciation in connection with the product.

The full report suggests that Apple’s use of the Watch to reposition itself from a premium tech company to a luxury brand would help it stave off competition from Chinese companies like Huawei and Xiaomi, which have been moving their products upmarket to compete with flagship models from established smartphone brands.

Having always sold premium products, Apple became more explicit about its luxury positioning with the introduction of the Apple Watch, and announced plans to refurbish Apple stores with sales counters and displays suggesting department store exclusivity. At the same time, premium positioning also presented Apple with one of its fundamental competitive challenges, as Chinese brands such as Huawei and Xiaomi and Indian makers like Micromax offered quality smart phones at much lower prices. Apple’s Brand Power remained a major advantage. Consumers were drawn both to the efficacy, ease of use and design of Apple products, and to the allure of the brand itself.

Apple of course tops many rankings, Forbes also naming it most valuable brand, Barron’s ranking it the world’s most respected company, and Berkshire Hathaway consistently ranking Apple as the world’s most admired company.

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