These are the world's most valuable brands

Brands may appear ephemeral, going in and out of style along with ever-changing consumer tastes, but there are good reasons why companies work so diligently to hone their images.

The most obvious of these is the loyalty that a strong brand inspires among fans. Companies with popular brands also generally have more room to charge a premium for their products and tend to weather economic downturns better than rivals. 

That may help explain why the top-ranked brands are also counted among the country's most valuable companies, according to a new ranking of the best global brands in 2017 by Interbrand, a brand consultancy. The three most valuable brands in the world share a common industry -- technology -- and are among the most highly valued publicly traded companies: Apple (AAPL), Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google and Microsoft (MSFT).

Interbrand ranked the brands based on three criteria: the financial performance of a company's branded products or services; the role the brand plays in convincing customers to choose the company; and whether the brand allows the company to charge a premium for its products or services. 

The value of Apple's brand rose 3 percent this year to $184.2 billion, while Google's brand value gained 6 percent to $141.7 billion. Microsoft's brand added 10 percent to $80 billion. 

While those brands may outshine others in terms of overall value, other companies are seeing a bigger lift, Interbrand said. The fastest-growing brand belongs to Facebook (FB), which saw the value of its brand jump 48 percent. Amazon (AMZN) is in second place, with brand growth of 29 percent. 

Below are the 10 companies by brand value, according to Interbrand's annual survey. 

  1. Apple ($184 billion)
  2. Google ($141.7 billion)
  3. Microsoft ($80 billion)
  4. Coca-Cola ($69.7 billion)
  5. Amazon ($64.8 billion)
  6. Samsung ($56.2 billion)
  7. Toyota ($50.3 billion)
  8. Facebook ($48.2 billion)
  9. Mercedes-Benz ($47.8 billion)
  10. IBM ($46.8 billion)