Google, IBM, Apple Lead Top 100 Brands

Google, IBM and Apple had the highest value in a ranking of 100 brands by Millward Brown.
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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Google (GOOG) - Get Report is on top, Walt Disney (DIS) - Get Report is taking a dive and Samsung is surging as the battle for brand value continues.

The

Millward Brown

consulting firm, commissioned by

WPP

, released its list of the 100 most valuable brands this week, with a top 10 most consumers know on a first-name basis. Google,

IBM

(IBM) - Get Report

,

Apple

(AAPL) - Get Report

,

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

,

Coca-Cola

(KO) - Get Report

,

McDonald's

(MCD) - Get Report

, Marlboro, China Mobile,

General Electric

(GE) - Get Report

and Vodaphone lead a field whose earnings potential, brand promotion and brand equity inspire one exclamation from consumers and businesses alike: Gimmie.

Just for laughs, Millward Brown lumped its brands together as a portfolio and charted them against the S&P 500. Were it an actual portfolio, its 18.5% growth during the past four years would have dwarfed the

S&P 500 Index

, which dropped 11.5%.

This year, 20 brands increased their value by 20% or more from 2009. Though Samsung (80%), Chinese search site Baidu (62%),

Hewlett-Packard

(HPQ) - Get Report

(48%) and

Verizon

(VZ) - Get Report

(39%) fueled a tech-heavy surge, brands such as

Mastercard

(MA) - Get Report

(57%),

Visa

(V) - Get Report

(52%) and

Amazon

(AMZN) - Get Report

(29%) reflect the broader role of technology for consumers.

"The most common thread in the list is the pervasiveness of technology in our lives," says Eileen Campbell, Global Chief Executive of Millward Brown. "If your hard drive crashes today, it's like your house burning down 20 years ago."

That doesn't mean only the tech companies are getting it right.

Starbucks

(SBUX) - Get Report

faced a multi-front attack from McDonald's and other outlets on its key product, coffee, yet adapted and boosted its value by 17%. Red Bull sells exactly one item, energy drinks, but does it well enough to both crack the top 100 and improve its standing by 9%.

"There's no one way to build a brand," Campbell says. "A company like Samsung that puts its brand name on a wide variety of products but has all-around commitment to innovation, technology and quality is one way to do it, but relentless specialization is another and they're equally successful."

Companies whose brand values dropped didn't necessarily do something "wrong."

Nokia's

(NOK) - Get Report

value plunged 48% as smartphones took bigger pieces of its mobile market.

Walt Disney

(DIS) - Get Report

was off 35% as the recession shrunk crowds at Disneyland, Disney World and blockbusters like "Up." Many companies that fell off the list entirely were victims of economic circumstance.

"

Ikea

dropped off the list, and part of that was that people weren't buying furniture much," Campbell says. "

Lowe's

(LOW) - Get Report

dropped out for that reason, but most of the rest of them didn't have their values drop, but the bottom threshold moved up."

Top 10

Brand - Value (Change)

1. Google - $114.3 billion (+14%)

2. IBM - $86.4 billion (+30%)

3. Apple - $83.1 billion (+32%)

4. Microsoft - $76.3 billion (0%)

5. Coca-Cola - $67.98 billion (+1%)

6. McDonald's - $66 billion (-1%)

7. Marlboro - $57 billion (+15%)

8. China Mobile - $52.6 billion (-14%)

9. General Electric - $45 billion (-25%)

10. Vodafone - $44.4 billion (-17%)

Biggest improvement

1. Samsung - $11.35 billion (80%)

2. Baidu - $9.4 billion (62%)

3. MasterCard - $11.7 billion (57%)

4. Next - $2.6 billion (54%)

5. Visa - $24.9 billion (52%)

6 Hewlett-Packard - $39.7 billion (48%)

7. Verizon - $24.7 billion (39%)

8. Apple - $83.15 billion (32%)

9. IBM - $86.4 billion (30%)

10. Sony - $8.15 billion (30%)

Biggest drops

1. Nokia - $14.8 billion (-58%)

2. Intel - $14.2 billion (-38%)

3. Disney - $15 billion (-35%)

4. Porsche - $12 billion (-31%)

5. Siemens - $9.3 billion (-31%)

6. eBay - $9.3 billion (-28%)

7. Toyota - $21.8 billion (-27%)

8. GE - $45 billion (-25%)

9. Dell - $11.9 billion (-23%)

10. NTT Docomo - $12.97 billion (-18%)

-- Reported by Jason Notte in Boston.

Jason Notte is a reporter for TheStreet.com. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Esquire.com, Time Out New York, The Boston Herald, The Boston Phoenix, Metro newspaper and the Colorado Springs Independent.