Goodbye, Coke. Hello, Apple.

According to the latest “Best Global Brands” report from branding consultancy Interbrand, Apple is officially the world’s most valuable brand. At a value of $98.4 billion, Apple has booted former Coca-Cola from the top spot. This is the first time that Coca-Cola hasn’t been listed in first place since Interbrand started the report in 2001. It’s now listed in third place.

Here’s how Interbrand explains its decision:

For revolutionizing the way we work, play, and communicate — and for mastering the ability to surprise and delight — Apple has set a high bar for aesthetics, simplicity, and ease of use that all other tech brands are now expected to match, and that Apple itself is expected to continually exceed.

In other words, Apple has completely changed our lives, making its ascent almost entirely inevitable.

But Apple isn’t alone. Of the top 10 companies in the Interbrand report, five are technology companies. Google, whose brand Interbrand values as $93.3 billion, is in second place, and companies like IBM (4th), Microsoft (5th), and Samsung (8th) also hold top spots o the list. Interbrand counts 12 tech companies among  its 200 Best Global Brands.

Oh, and in case you wanted an idea of the methodology behind Interbrand’s reports, the company combines factors like “the market, brand, competitor, and financial data” to reach its conclusions. So, no, this isn’t just fluff.


Above: Not pictured: Nokia, which is 57, and BlackBerry, which has dropped off Interbrand’s list entirely. (Click to enlarge.)

So what does all of this teach us? One, despite all the hand-wringing over Apple’s supposedly bleak future, the company’s overall brand presence is stronger than ever. Two, being global matters: While companies like Walmart are a big deal in the U.S., that’s not the case globally, where they’re far less influential, brand-wise.

The last point is perhaps the most important: If the Interbrand report shows anything, it’s that brand success often favors companies that can create the kinds of products people can define themselves through. This has always been true for automotive companies (14 of which make Interbrand’s list), and it’s equally true for our rising tech giants, whose reach has extended to even the smallest parts of our lives. Your iPhone is also your lifestyle.


Above: Apple’s brand value has surged over the last three years.