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TODD SMITH — Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook most valuable brands

TODD SMITH

Technology giants Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook have been named the Top 5 companies in the 2017 Brandz top 100 most valuable global brands ranking, carried out by WPP and Kantar Millward Brown.

Now in its 12th year, the study combines measures of brand equity, based on interviews with more than 3 million consumers about thousands of global brands, with analysis of the financial performance of each company to determine the brands overall value, taking into account regional differences and customer perceptions. Here’s the Top 5:

1. Google

Despite hitting a major low among advertisers after The Times of London’s exposé earlier this year, it appears Google’s brand value remains buoyant among consumers. The advertising ‘duopoly’ of Google and Facebook also appears to show no signs of slowing, as combined they attracted one-fifth of global ad spend across all media in 2016, with Google pulling in the lion’s share of $79.4 billion, versus its rival’s total of $26.9 billion.

2. Apple

Apple’s stratospheric growth rate appears set to continue for some time yet – despite an apparent stall in sales of its flagship i-Phone – with its valuation topping $800 billion for the first time this year.

As well as WPP’s most valuable brands survey, Apple also made it into Forbes’ valuable brands list last month, for the seventh year in a row.

In March the tech giant launched a video platform called Clips, a camera and social video-editing app that is reminiscent of Twitter’s recently shuttered Vine. More product launches, across both software and hardware, are expected to be announced at Apple’s major annual event, the Worldwide Developers Conference, which kicks off this week,

3. Microsoft

After calling the recent NHS cyber attack a ‘wake-up’ call for governments and customers to take security seriously, the tech giant has been criticized for its own failings when it comes to security this year. In a letter to The Times’ Sir David Omand, former British Government Communications Headquarters director, pinned the blame squarely on the technology firm for failing to maintain support for its ageing Windows XP platform.

Nevertheless, next week the software giant will embark on the largest global launch of Apple-rivalling slick hardware in its history. Microsoft’s new Surface Pro tablet, laptop and desktop are set to launch across a multitude of countries, after being quietly developed for the past few years.

4. Amazon

This year the e-commerce giant has continued to hone its tech ecosystem to improve consumer experience across online shopping, delivery and entertainment, as well as developing AI-enabled services including grocery delivery and personal assistant Alexa. And in April, Amazon confirmed that advertising is to become a ‘meaningful’ aspect of its business, after looming quietly in the digital media space for some time.

The online platform is also looking to diversify from books, entertainment and consumer products into the lucrative pharmaceuticals sector

5. Facebook

Although the social media behemoth has come under serious fire for its role in the fake news phenomenon and the spread of misinformation during times of political significance, user growth doesn’t appear as if it’s about to curb any time soon. Now approaching the two billion-user mark, its advertising business continues to go from strength to strength as the social network reported revenue growth of 51% year-over-year in Q1.

Rounding out the Top 10:

6. AT&T

7. Visa

8. Tencent

9. IBM

10. Mc Donald’s.

“The superstar technology brands in the BrandZ global top 100 are capable of abundant innovation, using their platforms to create connected ecosystems that meet multiple needs and make our lives easier,” said Jane Bloomfield, Kantar Millward Brown’s head of UK marketing.

“They also have great elasticity, confidently playing in new territories and categories to expand their customer bases.”

NBC News Rolls Out Custom Display Ads

NBC News is rolling out two new kinds of display ads that are designed to meet advertisers’ demands for viewability, according to DigiDay

The ads, which NBC developed in-house and are initially visible on two verticals, Mach and Better, are a custom display unit and a “ping pong” unit, which rolls through a sequence of images as a user scrolls down the page. Both remain in reader view for longer than the IAB-required one second, at a time when many publishers are doing the bare minimum when it comes to viewability. The custom units resize themselves for any device and are part of a trend toward custom display units. So far a major advertiser has bought some of the ping-pong units, though a company spokesman declined to specify which one.

The idea is to make the ads more distinct and hence more valuable to advertisers. “Marketers are looking to publishers to help them find interesting ways to tell their stories,” said Nick Ascheim, NBC News’s senior vice president of digital. “And because the new design provides such a visually rich environment, we expect to see higher engagement with both the ads and the content, which is a win for us and for our advertising partners.”

Those new units are part of redesigns meant to get people to engage with both sites for longer periods of time. That meant including features like a video player that allows visitors to watch an unlimited number of videos with just one pre-roll ad and a front page that will let readers see an entire story on the site’s homepage without having to click through on an article page.

Where an early version of the site presented readers with a wall of article options, the newer versions of Mach and Better give editors the flexibility to show visitors a lot of information from one story right away.

The designs, which NBC News did with Code and Theory, were made using a template that will also allow NBC News to roll out additional vertical sites more quickly. A third vertical, Think, is slated for launch in a few weeks, and additional, not-yet-named sites are in the works.

Golden Mic | Smashville is Center of Sports, Music Universe

What do you get when you combine the best hockey teams, the biggest country music festival in the world and one of the largest music festivals in the land?

Smashville!

The Nashville Predators and the epic battle with Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins brought more than 70,000 frenzied fans to downtown for Game 6 of the NHL championship. Add some 100,000 country music fans catching the final night of CMA Fest – featuring superstars Brad Paisley and Keith Urban. And for good measure shake it all up with the Bonnaroo music festival, where U2, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Weekend jammed with fans from around the globe in a rural mecca south of Music City.

Music and hockey fans have gone a bit mad – tossing catfish, a signature Nashville Predators tradition onto the ice – while blowing decibel levels through the roof at Bridgestone Arena, cementing the city as the one-and-only Hockey Tonk. The stars have aligned to sing the national anthem at the games to bring more electricity, including Carrie Underwood, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Keith Urban, Luke Bryan, Trisha Yearwood, Martina McBride, Vince Gill and Faith Hill. All along the way, big-time artists have played free concerts for the fans crowded into downtown. Allen Jackson, Luke Bryan and more have made Nashville – and its brand – the center of the sports and music universe.

» 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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