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What's in a brand name? Ask companies like Apple and Google

Search engine giant Google would seem to have the absolutely ideal business model. As noted in a recent USA TODAY article, the global behemoth has an ironclad grip on continuous advertising revenues, given its status as the world's "dominant search engine."

And it's readily apparent, of course, that the company becomes ever-further entrenched in the public psyche every time someone utters the phrase, "Google it."

Similar power kudos can be handed out to a few select other companies as well, of course, owing to their flatly preeminent placement as top dogs in their industries.

What might pop up instantly for most people contemplating the alpha-dog list for brand name recognition?

We'll submit a few entries, to wit: Apple, Microsoft, Coca Cola, Walmart, AT&T and Amazon. A pollster might have to work long hours over the course of days to find a single individual unacquainted with any of those names.

Although such massive recognition and clout owe to proven performance delivered over time, of course, the sustained power of an elite company is also closely linked -- in fact, inextricably tied -- to its brand, whether that is reflected in a word or two, an iconic symbol or image or anything else that prompts instant recognition.

Although it is hard to precisely quantify the value of "brand," of course, suffice to say that it is simply huge and worthy of a company's sharp and persistent efforts to protect it. There is a reason why a company like Apple is always involved in intellectual property disputes, as well as merchandizing and licensing negotiations with other entitites keen to garner profit from association with a global leader.

The above-cited article provides some interesting information on leading global companies' brands and related values. It is certainly notable, for example, that despite Apple reportedly being displaced by Google as the world's most lucrative brand last year, the company's estimated value stands at about $107 billion (compared to Google's stated worth of $109 billion).

Sometimes, being in second place is not such a bad thing.

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