LONDON: Google, IBM and Apple have been named as the most valuable brands in the world, having all increased their revenues despite the challenges of the global recession.
The net worth of the top 100 global brands rose by 4% to $2.04trn (€1.5trn; £1.3trn) in 2009, according to the latest BrandZ study produced by Millward Brown Optimor. (Click here to view the full list.)
While this was partly attributed to the inclusion of oil companies in the analysis for the first time, the world's biggest brands were also argued to have largely withstood the pressures of the downturn.
Overall, 13 members of the Top 100 were based in emerging markets, a total that has increased from just one in 2006, as part of a long-term trend that seems to be favouring regions like Asia Pacific.
China Mobile, worth an estimated $52.6bn, was the leading player in Asia, followed by ICBC and Bank of China, two financial services providers in the same country, on $43.9bn and $22.0bn respectively.
Alongside estimating a brand's financial worth, Millward Brown rated each asset's contribution to the earnings of its parent company and its expected short-term growth in value, or "momentum".
Baidu, the Chinese search engine, saw its value grow by 62% to $9.4bn, and posted the joint-highest brand contribution of five points, and the maximum brand momentum of ten points.
Alongside Telcel, Petrobras, the oil company, and Bradesco, the bank, were the other operators from Latin America to make the Top 100.
Elsewhere, ICICI bank became India's first entrant to this group, with a value of $14.5bn, having established a presence in 18 markets across the globe to date.
However, Google headed the rankings for the fourth successive year, having seen its brand value increase by 14% to $114.3bn compared with the previous BrandZ report.
The search firm was given a brand contribution score of five points and a brand momentum of nine points in this year's poll, indicating that it is likely to remain the number one for the near future.
Elsewhere, IBM climbed two positions to second on $86.3bn, an uptick of 30% on an annual basis, but its brand momentum and contribution totals both came in at a relatively lowly four points.
Apple jumped three spots to third as its brand value expanded by 32% to $83.2bn, helped by the success of pioneering products like the iPhone and iPod.
The launch of the iPad, its highly-anticipated "tablet" device, in January this year was just one factor behind its brand momentum rating of eight points.
Microsoft took fourth on $76.3bn, followed by Coca-Cola in fifth on $68.0bn, although both of these brands fell two places despite the fact their values were largely stable.
McDonald's, Marlboro, China Mobile, General Electric and Vodafone made up the top ten, but only Marlboro recorded an increase in its net worth last year, up by 15% to $57.0bn.
The uptake of social media by major advertisers was said to be one of the defining features of 2009 by Millward Brown, although Facebook, the world's biggest social network, did not make the Top 100.
However, Coca-Cola's "Happiness Ambassadors" and Samsung's "HD Camera Trick Challenge" and "Extreme Sheep LED Art" viral videos were identified as best practice examples showing marketers how to make effective use of this channel.
A widespread "addiction" to mobile phones among consumers also meant ten firms from this sector featured in the BrandZ list, ranging from AT&T in the US to Movistar in Spain and Mexico's Telcel.
Trust has been another key theme during the recession, and while all of the Top 100 were said to have performed well in this area, Amazon, Google and Visa were some of the front-runners.
A full report on Millward Brown's BrandZ 2010 will be available on Warc later this week.
Data sourced from Millward Brown