The Brand Finance Global 500, an annual study conducted by brand valuation consultancy Brand Finance, assessed brands on a wide variety of measures to score them on a Brand Strength Index.
Just 11 of the 500 brands considered were awarded the top AAA+ brand rating and of these Ferrari had the highest overall score. Others in this select group included Google, Hermès, Coca-Cola, Disney, Rolex and Red Bull.
Brand Finance chief executive David Haigh noted that Ferrari inspired "more than just brand loyalty, more of a cultish, even quasi-religious devotion", adding: "its brand power is indisputable".
Ferrari reported record revenues and profits in 2013, despite selling fewer cars. "Exclusivity for me is the most important thing," company president Luca di Montezemolo told the Financial Times. "The quality of the sales is more important than the quantity."
But that very exclusivity precludes it from being the world's most valuable brand. On this measure it ranked 350th, while Apple was top with a value of $105bn according to Brand Finance.
What set Apple apart, said Haigh, was its ability to monetise the brand. He cited the example of tablets which had been in use before the iPad. But "it was the application of the Apple brand to the concept that captured the public imagination and allowed it to take off as a commercial reality".
Tech brands dominated the top of the brand value rankings, with Walmart the only non-tech brand in the top ten and the fact it had been overtaken by Amazon, said Brand Finance, was "yet another coup for tech brands over 'real-world' businesses".
The remaining eight, in order, were Samsung, Google, Microsoft, Verizon, GE, AT&T and IBM.
In geographical terms, US brands led the way, occupying 185 of the 500 spots, with Japan in second, followed by Germany, France and the UK. China was sixth in terms of total brand value as its brands were still developing, although Huawei and Baidu had both increased their brand values by over 50%.
Data sourced from Brand Finance; additional content by Warc staff