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Falling out of favour: Google and Apple slip in brand rankings

The tech giants were beat out by some surprising companies, but what does it all mean?

Jim Kerr is Venture Publishing's Associate Director of Digital Initiatives. Get in touch with him at

Jul 16, 2013

by Jim Kerr

Are the big tech companies losing their edge?

According to the mid-year numbers from market research firm YouGov BrandIndex, that seems to be the case. The company put out its list of the 10 best-perceived brands in the United States this week, and heavy-hitters Apple and Google didn’t make the cut.

It’s been a steady drop for Google, going from fourth in 2011 to tenth last year, while Apple fell off the list in the second half of 2012 and hasn’t recovered.

First, let’s discuss how this list is put together: YouGov says it interviews thousands of people a day from its pool of 2.5 million people worldwide, collecting data that is “nationally representative of adults in each country.” People are surveyed about whether they’ve heard anything good or bad about a brand over the previous two weeks, and that information is used to come up with a score between -100 and 100.

As for Apple and Google, what this data could be saying is that people just aren’t as enthralled as they once were by the latest advances in consumer technology. For example, the first iPhone was a game-changer, whereas the iPhone 5 is simply an improvement to an already widely-used device. Google has done some interesting things in the last year, but Google Glass isn’t really a mass-consumption device (at least, not yet) and the Chromebook Pixel laptop had mixed reviews.

Then again, it might have nothing to do with the products they’re churning out. As The Telegraph reports, Apple has recently dealt with allegations of poor working conditions in its Chinese factories, child labour in its supply chain and it will soon face trial for damages stemming from e-book price fixing.

There’s the whole NSA Prism program, which claimed to have direct access to servers of companies like Google, Apple and Facebook.

Wondering what the best-perceived brand of the year in the US is so far?

Ford jumped up five spots to take over first place from Subway, which dropped to third. Apple’s e-book rival Amazon came in second place, the History Channel was fourth, followed by Lowes, V8, Walgreens, YouTube, Kindle and Cheerios.

So, there you have it – in 2013, vegetable juice and cereal both have a better public perception than two of the most innovative companies of our time. Then again, it doesn’t take much for either company to get some buzz going so that could all change in a hurry.

One Response to Falling out of favour: Google and Apple slip in brand rankings

  1. GunnarBlodgett says:

    This is not unprecedented. Once a company gets on top, it starts
    forgetting how it got there. “Think Different” commercials get replaced
    by “must-have fashion accessory commercials …