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At least one Strategy Boutique believes that Google is the most powerful brand on the planet.

On Monday, Millward Brown released its annual list (PDF) of the world's top 100 brands, and for the second year running, it's convinced that Google is the best of the best.

Millward Brown also says that brands are important. "This year's brand ranking demonstrates the importance of investing in brands, especially in times of market turmoil. Strong brands generate superior returns and protect businesses from risk," said Joanna Seddon, CEO of Millward Brown Optimor, a Sub-Boutique of the Strategy Boutique. "Our data shows that strong brands continue to outperform weak ones in terms of market share and share price during recessions."

With the help of a whalesong CD and a few joss sticks, you too can have a strong brand. But not as strong as Google's. According to the Millard Brown study, based on financial data and interviews with people, the Google brand is now worth $86.1bn. That's a 30 per cent increase from last year. Or at least, a thirty per cent increase from last year's report.

GE grabs the second spot at $71.4bn, with Microsoft just behind at $70.8bn. The top ten also includes IBM ($55.3bn), Apple (up 123 per cent to $55.2bn), and Nokia ($43.9bn). It does not include Miss Ida's Pickled Pigs' Feet.

With "brand value growth" of $187.5bn, the tech industry outperformed all other industries. Twenty-eight tech outfits made the top 100, including HP, Cisco, Oracle, Intel, Verizon, Dell, and BlackBerry. ®

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