The 2016 edition of the Millard Brown (Subsidiary of WPP plc: WPPGY)  BrandZ 100 Most Valuable Global Brands Report is out and the list is valued at $3.4 trillion more than last year.

The Top 10

The ten most valuable companies should come as no surprise to people who regularly follow the news. The top three are tech brand giants Alphabet Inc. (GOOG), Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) with more than half a trillion dollars of value between them. Google and Apple swapped placed this year as Apple’s value fell 8%. (See also: Apple’s Stock Declines After Insiders Sell Shares.)

The other tech brands in the top 10 are Facebook Inc. (FB), up 44% to $102.55 billion, and International Business Machines Corp. (IBM), down 8% to $86.21 billion. Telecom companies AT&T Inc (T) and Verizon Communications Inc (VZ) fell to the 4th and 8th places with $107.39 billion and $93.22 billion in brand value, respectively. Visa Inc (V), Amazon.com Inc (AMZN) and McDonald’s Corp (MCD) rounded out the top ten in sixth, seventh and ninth place, respectively.

Big Changes in 2016

2016 was a poor year for global brands. China, Brazil and Russia suffered the effects of lower oil prices which hindered consumption. China had four of the largest declines in brand value with Sinopec (China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation: SNP), Alibaba Group (BABA) and Baidu Inc. (BIDU) each falling more than 24%. The American Express Co. (AXP) saw the biggest decline in brand power, caused perhaps by Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST) opting to sign exclusivity contracts with other payment processors in the United States and Canada.

Lessons for 2016

Aside from listing the top 100 brands, the BrandZ report touches on what makes the brands successful. According to the report, brand experience and local brands are top things that customers look for when purchasing a product. Another trend in successful brands is the brands stepping into other categories – Amazon expanding into the technology sector for example. Finally, the report explains that there exist excellent opportunities to create niche brands given the diverse populations in cities throughout the world. (See also: Four Addictive Brands Consumers Crave.

Three key lessons that the BrandZ report has found from analyzing data this year are: disrupt before being disrupted, excel in digital and social media and express a clear and consistent brand.

Want to learn how to invest?

Get a free 10 week email series that will teach you how to start investing.

Delivered twice a week, straight to your inbox.