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A passerby photographs an Apple store logo with his Samsung Galaxy phone in central Sydney in this file photo.

TIM WIMBORNE/REUTERS

Apple Inc. continues to hold its position as a brand behemoth on the world stage. But rival Samsung is gathering steam, according to a new report ranking the world's most valuable brands.

Consulting firm Brand Finance PLC's Global 500 ranking for 2013, released on Tuesday, shows that Samsung has risen four places to take over the number-two spot ahead of Google, and behind its tech competitor, Apple.

Brand Finance is not the only firm to publish brand value rankings, based on a calculation that attempts to put a dollar value on marketing-related assets usually considered intangible, such as trademarks, intellectual property rights, and brand perception. These calculations can differ widely from firm to firm, but represent an important exercise for marketers: Demonstrating the business impact of what they do.

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Samsung, which has gotten noticed in the past year for sharp advertising, including a series of commercials that mocked passionate Apple fans as mindless hordes obsessed with trend over function. A recent study from Ipsos-Reid also showed Samsung gaining strength among Canadian consumers specifically.

Samsung's investment in both marketing as well as research and development, and its speed in launching new products, led to the largest increase in brand value among the top 10 in the rankings under CEO Kwon Oh-Hyun. At Apple, Steve Jobs's replacement Tim Cook also increased the company's brand value this year. However, in a statement, Brand Finance CEO David Haigh suggested that "the title of international brandmaster is now very much up for grabs."

Meanwhile, Canada's tech darling, Research In Motion, toppled out of the Global 500 list this year, as it fell below the cutoff value of $2.55-billion. On the flipside, two banks cracked the top 100 for the first time – TD and RBC, at #90 and #91.

As a whole, Canada is underrepresented in the list, the study finds, with only 14 Canadian-owned brands making the list.

"A lot of this is due to our close history with the United States where many of our goods and services originate," Brand Finance's Canadian managing director, Edgar Baum, said in a statement. "This is best reflected by the growing national conversation about the arrival of Target in Canada. Target is a large brand worth over $17-billion and ranked No. 44 in the world. Using the 'unofficial' Canadian rule for American companies, about 10 per cent of that value can safely apply to Canada once its operations are fully up and running. This would place Target right in the mix of things with a value slightly lower than Loblaws, Canadian Tire and Shoppers Drug Mart."

Brand Finance's top 10 global brands, 2013

1. Apple

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  • Brand value: $87.3-billion
  • Change in value from 2012: +23%
  • Placement in list in 2012: 1

2. Samsung

  • Brand value: $58.8-billion
  • Change: +53.9%
  • 2012 rank: 6

3. Google

  • Brand value: $52.1-billion
  • Change: +9.8%
  • 2012 rank: 2

4. Microsoft

  • Brand value: $45.5-billion
  • Change: -0.6%
  • 2012 rank: 3

5. Walmart

  • Brand value: $42.3-billion
  • Change: +10.4%
  • 2012 rank: 5

6. IBM

  • Brand value: $37.7-billion
  • Change: -3.6%
  • 2012 rank: 4

7. GE

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  • Brand value: $37.2-billion
  • Change: +11.9%
  • 2012 rank: 7

8. Amazon.com

  • Brand value: $36.8-billion
  • Change: +28.3%
  • 2012 rank: 10

9. Coca-Cola

  • Brand value: $34.2-billion
  • Change: +10%
  • 2012 rank: 8

10. Verizon

  • Brand value: $30.7-billion
  • Change: +11.3%
  • 2012 rank: 12
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