Apple Replaces Coca-Cola as World's Top Brand: 10 Ways It Did It

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2013-10-01 Print this article Print

Another day, another milestone for Apple. This time around, the company has been called the Best Global Brand, according to Interbrand, supplanting Coca-Cola, which reigned for 13 years as the top company in the world. Interbrand’s study is based on a host of factors, including a firm’s financial success and market influence. Google, Apple’s top competitor in the marketplace, was able to nab the second spot, while IBM took fourth, Microsoft fifth and Samsung eighth. That Apple toppled Coca-Cola from its position as the world’s top brand is perhaps no surprise to the average person. The company has been delivering high-quality products for years and has become recognizable to a global generation of people who are tuned in to the mobile, personal computer and consumer electronics markets. But it is an interesting development that the top brand is a technology company, rather than a soft drink company. However, Apple’s turnaround from near extinction in the 1990s to the world’s top brand today is a pretty amazing story and one that may not be well understood. This slide show will examine what Apple has achieved.

  • Apple Replaces Coca-Cola as World's Top Brand: 10 Ways It Did It

    By Don Reisinger
    0-Apple Replaces Coca-Cola as World's Top Brand: 10 Ways It Did It
  • Followed Steve Jobs' Lead

    Apple co-founder Steve Jobs knew what he was doing as the company’s chief executive. He understood that to succeed he’d need to be relentlessly innovative. Thankfully, Apple realized in the nick of time that it needed to bring Jobs back in 1997 if the company was to have a chance to survive long term.
    1-Followed Steve Jobs' Lead
  • Apple Settled on the iPod

    The iPod might have been a major departure for Apple over a decade ago when it launched, but now, it’s looked at as the key reason the company has become so popular. The iPod put Apple back on the map and made the company a major player in mobile.
    2-Apple Settled on the iPod
  • Apple Realized It Didn’t Need to Beat Microsoft

    For a long time, Apple felt like it had something to prove in its ongoing battle with Microsoft. But, then, the bad times came in the mid-1990s and Apple was fighting for its life. After Jobs returned, he realized that Apple needed all the allies and investors it could get. One of them who came on board at a crucial time was Microsoft’s Bill Gates. But the competition continued. But after the iPod launched, Apple realized that it could beat Microsoft in other ways than software. It was a liberating realization for the company and turned out to be a boon for its operation.
    3-Apple Realized It Didn’t Need to Beat Microsoft
  • Constant Innovation Was Essential

    When Jobs was trying to figure out what should happen next for his company, one thing became immediately clear: Innovation was absolutely necessary. So Jobs set out to deliver the most innovative products on the market. And most people would agree that he succeeded.
    4-Constant Innovation Was Essential
  • Bring on the iPhone Margins

    One of the core measures in the Interbrand study is a company’s profits. And on that front, Apple is covered. The company has been able to make hundreds of dollars on every iPhone it sells each year, despite increased competition. If not for the huge iPhone margins, Apple might not be as successful as it is today.
    5-Bring on the iPhone Margins
  • Supply Chain Mastery

    In order to achieve such high margins, Apple CEO Tim Cook became a master at supply chain management. In his former role as chief operating officer, Cook identified ways to cut costs and, in the process, provide Apple with more leverage with suppliers. It was supply chain management at its very best. And Apple is successful today because of it.
    6-Supply Chain Mastery
  • Popularizing the Tablet Was a Major Achievement

    Sure, there were tablets before the iPad hit store shelves, but just about no one really cared about slates until Apple’s product came out. Apple proved that tablets could work, and better yet, it made a huge business out of that.
    7-Popularizing the Tablet Was a Major Achievement
  • Playing the Hype and Secrecy Game With Aplomb

    One of the key aspects of Apple’s success was its ability to build hype and spawn secrecy by not talking about, well, anything. The move worked like a charm and only increased the rabid excitement around its product launches. If not for the secrecy and hype, it’s unlikely Apple would have been so successful.
    8-Playing the Hype and Secrecy Game With Aplomb
  • Let Jonathan Ive Take the Lead on Design

    Sure, Steve Jobs was the main brains behind Apple’s rebirth, but Jonathan Ive was arguably its second-most-important figure. As the company’s design guru, Jonathan Ive has popularized all kinds of design conventions that weren’t even dreamed of before he came up with them. Apple let Jonathan Ive be Jonathan Ive. And it’s laughing all the way to the bank because of it.
    9-Let Jonathan Ive Take the Lead on Design
  • The Ability to Move On

    It’s not always valued, but when an organization can see its co-founder and leader die and be able to pick up where he left off and continue to generate massive profits, that’s saying something. Apple’s ability to move on is nothing short of astounding. And that the company is now the world’s top brand two years after Jobs died says something about its current executive team and prospects for the future.
    10-The Ability to Move On
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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