Apple tops brand list, Ferrari is world's most powerful

The 2013 BrandFinance Global 500 list names Apple as the world's most valuable brand, but when margins, marketing and advertising spend, plus brand affection and loyalty are taken into account, the niche supercar maker comes out on top.

The complete list of the world's most powerful brands, due for publication on February 28, puts Apple at the top of the pile with a brand value of €87.3 billion but also reveals that its biggest competitor, Samsung, is snapping at its heels in second place with a €58.8 billion brand value. Ranked sixth in the same list in 2012, Samsung has seen its value grow by 54 percent in the past 12 months, and there's every possibility that the South Korean firm could overhaul Apple's position before the end of the year.

As Brand Finance's CEO David Haigh states: "At present, the betting money seems to be on Samsung ending 2013 as the world's most valuable brand. As Apple's brand value grew by a stunning 132% in 2011 to reach the number one position, it would not be unprecedented for Samsung to produce a similar result next year."

The same list places Google third (€52.1 billion), Microsoft fourth (€45.5 billion), followed by Walmart (€42.3 billion).

"With revenues in the tens of billions, Apple and Samsung are slugging it out for global brand supremacy and are vying with each other to create strong ‘customer love' for their brands. However, there are other brands in the Global 500 that though they may never challenge the brand value giants, are nonetheless extremely powerful and well-loved," continues Haigh.

Chief among these is Ferrari. Though unable to compete with Apple, Google or Samsung in terms of market capitalization or in terms of the numbers of products it builds and sells globally, when net margins, average revenue per customer, marketing and advertising spend are factored into the equation, along with qualitative measures such as brand affection and loyalty, Ferrari is the world's most powerful brand.

"It is always a pleasure to top any list and still more so when the competition includes some of the world's most famous companies. This achievement proves that even in very tough economic times, Italy can still offer the world businesses of excellence," commented Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo of the company's achievement.

When judged in terms of power Ferrari is followed by Google in second place, Coca-Cola, PwC and Hermes in fifth place.

Google's appearance in both lists is the only one by a technology company, highlighting the commitment and loyalty among users it has built up in recent years.