Chalk up another victory for Apple and its integrated philosophy.

Millward Brown Optimor released its annual BrandZ: Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands study, which tabbed Apple as the most valuable brand in the world. The famous Cupertino, Calif. based company saw a brand value increase of 84 percent over the past year, going from a valuation of $83,153 million and a third place finish in 2010 to a value of $153,285 million and the top spot this year. The increase by Apple put it ahead of smartphone operating system rival Google, which for the first time in four years is looking up at someone in terms of brand value.

Apple's integrated approach is a big reason why Millward Brown Optimor says it is at the top of the list. The company is able to maintain consistency across the breadth of its popular products, which is important to building a strong brand.

It's clear that every single Apple employee, from Steve Jobs and Tim Cook to the summer interns, see protecting and nurturing that brand as a top priority., the report's chief author, Eileen Campbell, said in a statement.

Millward Brown further noted the different philosophies of Apple and Google with Apple's integrated approach finally beating out Google's open system, free services model. The report's authors were impressed with Apple's ability to create a product segment, the tablet, essentially from nothing and sell 18 million devices, saying a lot of that has to do with this approach.

At the start of last year, few people fretted that their lives felt bereft of a digital gadget smaller than their laptop but larger than their mobile phone. By the end of 2010, however, around 18 million of us owned iPads or other tablets, the report stated. It also pointed to Apple's success in the burgeoning app market as a reason for its success.

Another tech favorite, Facebook, showed the most progress of any company from the previous year. The social network's brand value grew 246 percent from 2010, up to $19,102 million. Facebook was unranked the previous year and currently sits at 35th with a lot of growth potential.

Meanwhile, the world's biggest all-encompassing retail store, Wal-Mart, was finally beat out by the web's biggest all-encompassing retail store, Amazon. Millward Brown says the digital transformation is never more apparent than in the battle between Amazon and Wal-Mart.

In 2006, Wal-Mart was the 6th most valuable brand and Amazon the 78th. Amazon's current worth of $37,628 million beat Wal-Mart's position $37,277 million placing them 14th and 15th respectively.

After Apple and Google, IBM, McDonald's and Microsoft rounded out the top five.

Millward Brown says the brand value is the sum of all future earnings that brand is forecast to generate, discounted to a present-day value. The company holds a great deal of importance on financials, brand contribution and the company's close bond with its customers, and potential growth. The report is created using data from Bloomberg, Brandz and Kantar Worldpanel and can be found here.

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