Comparison of the Most Valuable Brands of 2014: How Google Overtook Apple at the No. 1 Spot
Tipping Point author Malcolm Gladwell once described Steve Jobs’ perfectionism not as an inventor but a tweaker. “His gift lay in taking what was in front of him—the tablet with stylus—and ruthlessly refining it.” Jobs would be infamous for perfecting his iPhones and iPads and launching them to success. Years hence, the same perfectionism disease may be pulling Apple back.
Last year, Google overtook Apple as the number one most valuable brand after holding the top post for three consecutive years. Our latest infographic below gives a quick review on the top 10 brands in 2014 by BrandZ (the same source used by Forbes). But let’s go beyond the list.
Industry observers believe Apple’s calculated process to churn out a perfect product slows down its progress. If they are to be believed, the race is to the swift and Google has been launching new and more innovative projects faster: Google Glass, Internet of Things, Google Maps and Google Music All Access are some of the exciting goings-on announced at the last I/O conference. Sure, Apple had its own releases last year, iPhone 5S and 5c, but the smartphone arena is getting a little boring. Apple needs some oranges.
Not that Google engineers work faster or are more innovative. The search giant has the habit of releasing beta versions and admitting to the public that, yes, they should expect glitches and imperfections; Google needs your feedback to perfect the product (they found the best excuse: crowdsourcing!). While Apple engineers slave away for months in their lab caves looking for the Holy Grail, Google engineers are already half drunk in cocktail events announcing their latest projects. That’s just a hypothetical situation, but you get the picture.
Sometimes we think Apple set a high standard for itself. Consumers and investors now expect no less than disruptive products in every Apple launch the way of iPod/iTunes, iPhone and iPad. When that doesn’t happen, people scratch their head in disappointment.
Bagging the top brand, after all, is perception mixed with actual value, much like how stocks rise and fall, and Google knows how to play this game. It can even spice up the tiniest change. Recently, Google tweaked its logo. The change is almost indiscernible involving kernings, a typeface jargon about character spacing; in Google’s case the l was aligned with the bottom of e by one pixel. Here’s a peek where you can see the difference courtesy of an eagle-eyed G+ user. Admittedly, I did google “kernings.”
Can Apple get its position back next year? Check out this infographic and learn more:
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Raw data that we used: