LONDON: Ubiquitous, omnivorous Google is the planet's number one brand judged by a range of key criteria, reports WPP Group-owned research company Millward Brown Optimor.

In the firm's second annual BRANDZ Top 100 Most Powerful Brands survey, co-published with the Financial Times, Google tops the world pile with a brand value ranking of $66.434 billion (€48.92bn; £33.19bn), relegating last year's victor, Microsoft, to third place with a meager $54.951bn.

Sandwiched between the two cyber colossi in second position is General Electric with a brand score of $61.88bn.

For the purpose of the BRANDZ ranking, MBO values brands in three steps:

  1. It establishes a company's intangible earnings, then allocates them to individual brands and countries of operation, based on publicly available financial data from Bloomberg, Datamonitor and Millward Brown

  2. Via Optimor's own research, MBO determines the portion of intangible earnings attributable to the brand alone, as opposed to other factors such as price. This metric, known as Brand Contribution, reflects the share of earnings from a product or service's most loyal consumers or users. For this second step, the firm uses research-based loyalty data from the BRANDZ database.

  3. MBO then projects the brand value based on market valuations, the brand's risk profile, and its growth potential. Data is sourced from the BRANDZ database, Bloomberg and MBO's own research.
Says MBO global ceo Joanna Seddon: "Success stories from this year's BRANDZ Top 100 demonstrate that winning brands leverage major market trends effectively to create business value.

"Strong brands are capable of extending into areas of opportunity to access new revenue streams and to help businesses respond to market changes."

To view the complete BRANDZ Top 100 click here.

Data sourced from multiple origins; additional content by WARC staff