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Apple Beats Out Google as Top Brand Name in 2004

By Jennifer LeClaire MacNewsWorld ECT News Network
Jan 31, 2005 8:45 AM PT

Buoyed by the popular iPod, Apple has been voted the world's most influential brand in a poll of branding professionals.

Apple Beats Out Google as Top Brand Name in 2004

Google had nudged Apple out of its familiar top spot in the past two years, but the's annual Reader's Choice Awards officially dubbed Apple the brand with the most impact in 2004.

Was it the U2 iPod that pushed Apple over the top? Or could it be the record-breaking sales gains and the net income growth of 300 percent? Or maybe it was Apple's retail stores that gave Apple the edge in 2004.

IPod Impact

It was all of the above, according to Brandchannel Editor-in-Chief Robin Rusch. Apple designed, marketed and iPoded its way to become the Reader's Choice for the brand with the most impact in 2004.

"Apple had a tremendous year," Rusch told MacNewsWorld. "A lot of our respondents wrote in 'iPod' in the answer space, so the company's popular music player is definitely the reason people chose Apple."

Rusch said Apple is highly visible, and now with its retail stores, it is also highly touchable. "You can look at and touch the technology," she said. "You can even touch the iPods. In a lot of other consumer electronics stores they are behind the glass."

Despite its public IPO, Google was bumped to second after winning the award for the last two consecutive years. Rusch said Apple could maintain its top position next year if the brand can leverage iPod to boost its PC business.

Here To Stay

"Even though Apple has such a small percentage of the world's computer share, the company is hoping that the iPod has a huge halo-effect and people will think about switching to an Apple PC," Rusch said.

Barbara Coulon, vice president of trends for market researcher Youth Intelligence, was not surprised at the survey results. "Apple is a lifestlye brand. It has a clear brand personality. People feel like they are part of a tribe. There are a lot of people who are passionate about it. It's sort of a cult brand. Apple is a way of life," she told MacNewsWorld.

As for the impact the iPod has had on the Apple brand, Coulon said: "The iPod is the perfect MP3 player because it is very simple and functional. People also love the iPod advertising campaign."

"Apple is not trendy. It is a brand that is here to stay as long as they keep coming up with cool products," Coulon asserted.

Tech Firms Abound

Ikea's global expansion lifted it to third as Coca-Cola, the brand cited so often as the global brand, disappeared entirely from all top five lists. New to the awards: Australian travel brand Lonely Planet; animation powerhouse Pixar; Swedish fashion's answer to Ikea, H&M; and Al Jazeera, which branding professionals now feel has global brand impact alongside powerhouses like Starbucks and Nokia.

Technology firms abounded in the 2004 survey. EBay is a notable newcomer to the top 10, coming in at number nine. placed sixth.

Why all the Internet/technology companies? Admittedly, the survey was accessible online, so that might have biased results a bit. However, Rusch said there is also another reason.

"Our lives are more and more impacted by technology," she said. "Technology is becoming an important part of life."

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