Apple is (still) the world’s most valuable brand, but Disney is the most powerful

Apple remains the world’s most valuable brand, up 14% to $145.9 billion, according to the latest Brand Finance rankings. However, the brand valuation and strategy consultancy says Disney is the “most powerful,” thanks to the record-breaking success of Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens.

Brands are evaluated to determine which are the most powerful (based on factors such familiarity, loyalty, promotion, marketing investment, staff satisfaction and corporate reputation) and which are most valuable and ranked in the Brand Finance Global 500.

Apple has maintained its dominance at the summit of the Global 500. Brand value is up 14%, thanks to the huge success of the iPhone 6 and recently released iPhone 6s. Revenue for fourth quarter of the fiscal year 2015 was a record-breaking $51.5 billion with profits at US$11.1 billion while revenues for the year were $233.7 billion. This huge surge is partly responsible for recent disappointing sales growth (the slowest since the iPhone was launched in 2007). 

“However with 74.8 million handsets sold in the last quarter in a saturated market, assertions that Apple has gone rotten are premature. Apple Pay is beginning to generate traction, potentially heralding the brand’s long-anticipated expansion into the broader arena of financial services, to say nothing of its rumored foray into the auto industry,” says Brand Finance.

The brand valuation and strategy consultancy says Disney’s strength “is founded on its rich history and original creations, however its now dominant position is the result of its many acquisitions and the powerful brands it has brought under its control.” ESPN, Pixar, The Muppets and Marvel are all now Disney owned, but perhaps its most important acquisition of all has been Lucasfilm.

Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens is the fastest film ever to take $1 billion at the box office, enjoying the most successful opening weekend ($529 million) and based on its total box office gross of nearly $2 billion is Disney’s most successful film ever. Meanwhile Star Wars toys have generated over US$700 million. Brand Finance has estimated the value of the Star Wars brand to be US$10 billion, dwarfing the $4.05 billion Disney paid for Lucasfilm in 2012.