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Apple tops the list for brand value

The Apple logo of a store in Munich, Germany.

Kai Ryssdal: Here's today's story inspired by a quote from Shakespeare. "What's in a name," the line goes, "That which we call a rose?" the bard said.

But if you're Apple, the name's apparently worth $153 billion. The consumer research firm Millward Brown's out with its annual report, wherein it lists the top 100 most valuable brands. On top this year is everybody's favorite iPad maker; it edged out Google for the number one spot.

Now, Apple's great and all, but $153 billion for just the brand? We sent Stacey Vanek Smith off to take a look at how much value a brand can really have, and how the heck you measure it.


Stacey Vanek Smith: Apple earned roughly $65 billion last year, but its brand is worth more than twice that, according to Millward Brown's annual calculation. The company's Mario Simon explains.

Mario Simon: So we look at the earnings of the company and then we ask how much of those earnings can be attributed to the brand. And then we use a multiple to actually make that into a brand value of Apple in the long run.

Millward Brown does that by asking buyers how much the brand factored into their buy.

Simon: Versus other drivers of the purchase choice such as price and location, recommendation and so forth and so on.

Which still sounds a little nebulous. I put that to brand consultant Rob Frankel.

Rob Frankel: It's a lot nebulous. This is one of the struggles that business has with determining what their brand and brand strategy should be.

That's because brands have real value. Andrew Zolli is curator of innovation network PopTech. He says a strong brand is what lets a company charge more for what it makes -- and stand out in a sea of competition.

Andrew Zolli: Someone famously said of Coca-Cola that if you burnt down every one of their factories, they'd be back in business in a quarter. If you knocked everybody on earth over the head and gave them amnesia, they'd be out of business in a quarter. And the reason for that is that their brand really exists in all of our minds.

And as the economy becomes more global, companies are having to work harder to stay on our minds. And brands are becoming even more crucial.

In New York, I'm Stacey Vanek Smith for Marketplace.

About the author

Stacey Vanek Smith is a senior reporter for Marketplace, where she covers banking, consumer finance, housing and advertising.

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