Google has knocked Microsoft from its perch as the world's top-ranked brand, according to findings released on Monday.
The rankings, compiled by market research firm Millward Brown, also put Google ahead of well-established brands like General Electric, No. 2; Coca-Cola, No. 4; Wal-Mart Stores, No. 7; and IBM, No. 9.
Some key factors seen this year in building brand recognition ranged from corporate responsibility to serving customers in emerging markets like Brazil and India, according to the study.
The top-ranked brand from a non-US-based company was China Mobile, which dropped a spot but still came in at No. 5.
The rankings were based on publicly available financial data along with primary research, including interviews with a million consumers worldwide, Millward Brown said.
For Google, which ranked No. 7 a year ago, the jump to the top underscores how quickly the web search leader has become an everyday name. The company uses relatively little advertising, instead relying on word-of-mouth promotion.
By contrast, Microsoft's slide down to third place from first comes even as the software company has been rolling out its new Windows Vista operating system with a massive global marketing blitz, Reuters reports.
Peter Walshe, global brands director at Millward Brown, told silicon.com: "Google is an absolutely phenomenal brand in the sense that it is very clear what it stands for and it has perceived leadership and innovation."
Out of the complete top 100 listings, finance is the most dominant vertical with one in four coming from that sector. Technology is the second most prolific, with one in five brands, and retail is the third most popular sector.
Walshe said one of the key drivers to improve a company's brand is innovation and that's where technology brands tend to score very well. "People are rating technology brands as exciting, as brands they like and as brands they admire," he added.
The aim of the ranking is to calculate the value a brand is expected to generate for its owner in the future.
Google beat Microsoft to be named the UK's most popular brand in 2006 and the best global company to work for in 2007, silicon.com reports.
Prepared by Alexander Timoshik
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