Bill Gates will not be pleased when he sees that Google is officially the world’s biggest brand, knocking Wal-Mart (which owns Asda, of course, which also made the top 100) off top spot and beating Microsoft into second place. Brand Finance’s Global 500, an index of the world’s top 500 brands, was dominated by technology companies, as you may expect, with Apple one of the biggest successes, up to eighth from twentieth thanks largely to the huge success of the iPad and iPhone.
Britain fared badly in the list, with only Vodafone making the top ten, at fifth place, although Vodafone is also the biggest telecoms company. HSBC slipped out of the top ten, to eleventh from eighth, although it was still the highest-ranking bank, which says something about how it has weathered the banking storm. Tesco slipped to nineteenth from seventeenth, despite increasing in value. BP slipped outside the top one hundred after its disastrous oil-spilling year, as did BT.
It was not just Britain that slipped. Some other major brands from the rest of the world had bad years. Japanese car maker Toyota crashed out of the top ten to fourteenth, after it had to recall sixteen million cars, mainly in the United States. Nokia fell seventy-three places after some ill-judged remarks from Stephen Elop, their CEO. Amazingly, Coca Cola also slipped outside the top ten, to sixteenth.
Some of the biggest climbers in the list included China Life Insurance, which jumped 121 places, Nestle which halved its position from 66 to 33, United Health which rose 78 places to 82, Panasonic, up 94 places to 64, and IKEA, which made the list for the first time at number 52.