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TODD SMITH — Tech giants top the best global brands list for 3rd year

TODD SMITH

TODD SMITH

There’s yet another superlative to bestow on Apple: Best Global Brand.

The company topped the annual Interbrand Best Global Brand report, followed by Google. The companies placed first and second for the third year in a row.

Interbrand, a brand consultancy, determines 100 companies’ ranks by considering how much revenue they earn from a branded product, how effective the brand is at influencing its customers’ decision, and brand loyalty.

The list pegs Apple’s value at $170.3 billion, an increase of 43 percent from last year, and Google is valued at $120.3 billion, up 12 percent

Here are the top 10 brands in the land according to the best global brand survey:

1. Apple – valued at $170.3 billion, an increase of 43 percent

2. Google – $120.3 billion, up 12 percent

3. Coca-Cola – $78.4 billion, down 4 percent

4. Microsoft – $67.7 billion, up 11 percent

5. IBM – $65.1 billion, down 10 percent

6. Toyota – $49 billion, up 16 percent

7. Samsung – $45.3 billion, unchanged

8. GE – $42.3 billion, down 7 percent

9. McDonalds – $39.8 billion, down 6 percent

10. Amazon – $37.9 billion, up 29 percent

Embattled brand Volkswagen, which is in the midst of a scandal involving emission tests, ranks No. 35 on this year’s list, down four spots from its 2014 rank.

Twitter launches Moments in a bid to expand its audience

Twitter’s not wasting any time.

Just a day after appointing co-founder Jack Dorsey as its next chief executive – with a mandate to expand the company’s audience – the social network introduced a new section of its app, called “Moments.”

Moments is designed to highlight new stories that are emerging on the site, and will take users to a summary of a story that includes video clips, photos, Vines and animated gifs, all designed to give someone an at-a-glance way to catch up on what’s happening.

To pick the stories that get feature in Moments, the network is partnering with a number of news organizations – including The Washington Post and other major media outlets – to help its on-staff curation team. Per the company’s official blog announcement:

Today, most moments are assembled by our curation team, and some are contributed by partners like Bleacher Report, Buzzfeed, Entertainment Weekly, Fox News, Getty Images, Mashable, MLB, NASA, New York Times, Vogue and the Washington Post. While we’re working with a small group of partners now, we plan to expand it in the future.

Twitter has  been vocal about this feature for a while – though it referred to it by the code name, “Project Lightning” – and its importance in the company’s strategy of expanding its audience. While Twitter’s 300 million regular users may be happy to dip in and out of the streams of information that scroll by, it can be overwhelming for those just signing up.

Providing these digests of information could make the social network a little easier for the average person, and provide an easy on-ramp for people to find and enjoy the conversations springing up on the network.

Twitter users will first see Moments as a tab labeled with a lightning bolt in their app; Moments is rolling out to the company’s Android and iOS apps as well as the desktop experience, starting in the United States.

Google’s new plan for speeding up the mobile web

Google has a new plan to speed up the mobile web. The company has announced a technical preview for a system called Accelerated Mobile Pages (or AMP), designed to fight many of the factors slowing and bloating mobile web pages. Google has been working with a number of publishers on the system, including The Guardian, The Washington Post, BuzzFeed, and Vox Media, The Verge’s parent company.

The result of that work will be available on a public GitHub repository, offering more commonly held code and a smarter caching system. If the system works, users should see lighter, faster-loading mobile web pages as a result.

The system is still in technical preview, but the announcement comes on the heels of a number of major programs for offsite content hosting.

Facebook introduced Instant Articles in May, allowing publishers to push content directly to Facebook in exchange for faster load times and simpler advertising. Apple has taken a similar approach with Apple News, introduced at WWDC in June. At the same time, the new availability of ad-blocking applications in iOS 9 has given many users a new opportunity to bypass many bloated tracking systems entirely, prompting new urgency for publishers looking to shrink mobile pages.

That urgency is also being felt within Google, which derives the vast majority of its revenues from web advertising and is increasingly threatened by the migration of content to closed systems.

Still, Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages system is more open than the alternatives from Facebook and Apple. The core of the system is an open-source GitHub repository, which companies can adapt and fork as needed. Individual libraries or systems can also be adopted individually, working more as a toolkit than a self-contained portal.

At the same time, there are real similarities to native hosting. Google and its partners will still wield non-trivial power in how advertising and tracking can take place within the system. While the system allows for third party caching, Google’s powerful hosting network means the vast majority of AMP content will likely be hosted on the company’s servers. As such, the system is likely to revive concerns over the increasing balkanization of Internet platforms, with Google representing a more open, web-integrated alternative to more controlled platforms within Apple and Facebook.

Wrecked Mic 2.0 | Volkswagen Brand Continues To Implode

Volkswagen’s emissions scandal could be far more painful for investors than BP’s disastrous 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Credit Suisse (CS) estimates that the total cost to the company could hit 78 billion euros ($87 billion) in a worst-case scenario. That’s about 60 percent more than the cost of the Deepwater Horizon spill to BP.

Volkswagen has set aside 6.5 billion euros ($7.3 billion) to deal with the fallout from the scandal, after the company was caught cheating on emissions tests in its diesel vehicles. The company says costs may climb higher than this original estimate.

The automaker has said about 11 million vehicles worldwide are affected. That’s more vehicles than the group sells in a single year. A total bill of $87 billion would be equal to seven times last year’s net profit and place enormous pressure on Volkswagen’s finances. According to the company’s latest earnings statement, it has 21.5 billion euros ($24.3 billion) in cash on hand.

The bank’s analysts believe the single biggest cost – up to 33 billion euros – could come from compensating owners for the loss of value to their vehicles. The technical fix is likely to mean higher fuel consumption, which combined with damage to the brand, will make the cars harder to sell. Through this continued scandal, Volkswagen’s brand and reputation seem all be totaled. They get a very expensive Wrecked Mic!

Each week, The Spin Cycle will bestow a Golden Mic Award to the person, group or company in the court of public opinion that best exemplifies the tenets of solid PR, marketing and advertising – and those who don’t. Stay tuned – and step-up to the mic! And remember … Amplify Your Brand!

» Todd Smith is president and chief communications officer of Deane, Smith & Partners, a full-service branding, PR, marketing and advertising firm with offices in Jackson. The firm — based in Nashville, Tenn. — is also affiliated with Mad Genius. Contact him at todd@deanesmithpartners.com, and follow him @spinsurgeon.

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