You just can't block the buzz about Google. In the past few weeks, the company surpassed Apple as the world's most valuable brand, according to Millward Brown Optimor's 2014 BrandZ ranking.
It was a big blow for Apple, which had held the top spot for the previous three years. But Apple fell 20 percent in brand value in the past year to an estimated $147.9 billion. Even worse, there is a "growing perception that it is no longer redefining technology for consumers," according to Millward Brown, a New York City-based research firm.
Meanwhile, Google's brand value rose 40 percent from a year ago to $159 billion. Apparently it's pretty profitable to avoid evil, even as regulators here and abroad are taking a closer look to make sure that slogan is true.
What's behind Google's climb, beyond Apple's loss of founder Steve Jobs?
Google's Got 'It'
"It" is that magical, undefinable quality that people find not just attractive but compelling ... the thing that separates successful companies from global forces that everyone knows (and, arguably, respects). Google has its detractors, but that doesn't prevent it from being the company where everyone seems to dream of working.
Nick Cooper, managing director of Millward Brown Optimor, noted that Google has been "hugely innovative" in the last year with Google Glass, investments in artificial intelligence and "a multitude of partnerships that see its Android operating system becoming embedded in other goods such as cars."
All of this has coincided with a slowdown at Apple, which has been making lots of incremental change but little true innovation to its products in recent years.
What other companies rank at the top? David Adelman, deputy business and finance editor at FinancesOnline.com, identified them in this infographic:
What Put Google on Top
Adelman came up with a list of five reasons why Google beat Apple — lessons that other companies might want to take to heart, even if they don't rank anywhere near the top 10 worldwide.
- Google is seen as more exciting: Google excites the crowd with beta versions while Apple withholds release until the product is complete. Innovation is defined by excitement, not perfection.
- Google's new products have more variety: Google's products range from wearable tech to map systems, mobile devices, cloud services, productivity tools and driverless cars. Apple sticks to mobile devices and cloud services. Put your eggs in more baskets.
- Google is a team, while Apple is the (late) Steve Jobs: Google is seen as a big complex of creative engineers on a quest to develop new products. Apple is seen as a big complex of creative engineers who served Jobs and his ideas. Collaborate — work as a team.
- Google embraces the crowd, but Apple shuns it: Google is the master of crowdsourcing, while Apple works in secret labs. He who rules the crown rules Rome.
- Apple set (too?) high of a bar for itself: With each product launch, consumers expect Apple to disrupt the product category. Anything less is mediocre. Set the bar high — for others, not yourself.
Change ... for the Sake of Change
Innovation. Creativity. Meeting customer needs. Yes, Google has all that — as well as change for the sake of change, too. We'll leave you with one closing graphic from Adelman. Look closely. (I still don't see it.)