Apple has been named the most influential brand in a survey of branding professionals, beating out search engine Google, which held the top spot last year. Apple topped both the global and North American rankings in the poll of almost 2,000 ad executives, brand managers and academics by online magazine Brandchannel. “Apple’s just done an extraordinary job with innovation, technology and design. The iPod is what has put Apple in the lead this year,” Brandchannel editor Robin Rusch said. “Sony has had less luck tying together its products as a lifestyle. From a branding perspective, they haven’t caught up with Apple’s design and ability to capture the imagination.” The rest of the top five includes Swedish furniture chain Ikea, premium coffee chain Starbucks, and Arabic media channel Al Jazeera.