Brands with “Staying Power”

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By Harris Interactive, Special for US Daily Review.

Year after year, consumers identify superior brands as leaders in their industry, according to recent findings in the 2012 Harris Poll® EquiTrend® (EQ) study.  While some brands score high in equity across one or two components, real staying power comes from being exceptional across the board.  Perennial favorites continually surpass a highly competitive field of top consumer brands.

Still the One—Brands with Staying Power

This year EquiTrend assessed 1,500+ brands across more than 127 product categories, identifying 15 brands that have flexed their staying power “muscle” year after year and ranked number one in their respective categories every year since 2005 (when the current EquiTrend methodology began).  Within this list are “mega-brands” that in essence came to define their respective categories.  Mega-brands like Coca-Cola®, Craftsman®, Gatorade®, HBO®, and Life Savers® have significant staying power because each brand consistently delivers on its brand experience and remains relevant to today’s consumers.  Other perennial favorites who consistently lead their categories include Southwest Airlines® and Holiday Inn® Hotels and Resorts.

Fifteen Brands Consistently Ranked #1 Since 2005


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Category Brand
Health Insurance Blue Cross Blue Shield
Soft Drink Coca-Cola
Power Tool Craftsman
Sports Drinks Gatorade
Greeting Card Hallmark Greeting Cards
Pay Cable TV Network HBO
Mid-Market Hotel Holiday Inn Hotels and Resorts
Non-Chocolate Candy Life Savers
General-Interest Magazine National Geographic Magazine
Cookie Oreos
Consumer Electronics Sony Consumer Electronics
Value Airline Southwest Airlines
Quick Serve Restaurant Subway Restaurants
Mobile Network Verizon Mobile Network
Payment Card Visa

How do they do it?  In examining the 127 top brands, these eight-time highest ranked brands stand out in one area more than any other – brand momentum.  To have strong momentum, a brand must be seen as leader, be popular among friends and family, have high-levels of visibility, be exciting and engaging and be a brand that consumers believe has a bright future.

“These 15 top brands have consistently found a way to remain relevant and valuable to the consumer,” said Aron Galonsky, Senior Vice President for Harris Interactive’s Brand and Communication Consulting group.  “It’s not surprising why these perennial leaders continue stay on top.  They continually deliver a consistent and balanced brand experience, year after year, that really resonates with the consumer.”

While not yet eight-year category leaders, other prominent brands that are poised to lead and strengthen their categories are the Apple® iPad and iPhone, Google®, Android™ Amazon®’s Kindle, and the National Football League® – all of which showed strong signs of brand momentum.  In addition, newcomers like Chobani® Greek Yogurt and the health non-profit organization, Stand Up To Cancer™, a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation, showed significant promise for the future.

Top Gainers

Although brand equity is generally slow moving, strong brands, once established, will typically maintain their brand momentum.  For example, this year, Apple’s iPhone continued its rise and became one of the top technology brands in EquiTrend.  Other brands with strong year-over-year performance that garnered them a 2012 “Brand of the Year” distinction include Yamaha® Motorcycles, Glaceau vitaminwater®, BB&T Bank® and Physicians Formula Cosmetics®

A handful of financial services brands, such as The Vanguard Group®, TD Ameritrade®, ING Sharebuilder®, and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney®, were able to make progress in rehabilitating their equity.  Finally, Toyota®’s ranking jumped up, a signal of its ongoing recovery from the damage from the “recall” crisis.

At Risk Brands

A few brands have suffered steep declines over the last year such as the scandal-rocked Susan G. Komen for the Cure® and a handful of financial services brands, including Credit Suisse Financial Services®, Bank of New York Mellon®, Amerigroup®, and Fannie Mae®.  Other brands that fell include Groupon® which is seeing competition from this year’s top ranked brand,®, and Living Social®.  Additionally, Carnival Cruise Lines®—the  sister company of Costa Concordia, the cruise line with recent mishaps — and the Goodyear® Tire and Service Network—which was top ranked in 2011 — also dropped in the ranking.  Several non-profits, like the National Kidney Foundation®, Sierra Club® and World Vision have also seen declines.

Meanwhile one-time technology mega-brand, BlackBerry®, suffered a huge drop as many corporations implement and incorporate a “bring-your-own-device” strategy, essentially “spec-ing out” BlackBerry by employees who favor other smart phone brands.   BlackBerry’s below average scores for brand momentum, a forward looking brand metric, suggest that unless they find a way to reinvigorate, they can expect further deterioration.

Brands of the Year

Within each respective category, the strongest brand rose to the top and based on their Equity Score, brands were ranked in ascending order.  This year, 127 brands became a “Brand of the Year.”

Highest Ranked Brands in Each Award Category

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Category Award Name Brand
Airlines Full Service Airline Alaska/ Horizon Airlines
Airlines Value Airline Southwest Airlines
Apparel/Accessories Running Shoe New Balance Running Shoes
Appliances Major Appliances KitchenAid Major Appliances
Appliances Small Kitchen Appliance KitchenAid Small Appliances
Appliances Coffee Maker Keurig Coffee Maker
Automotive Manufacturers Full Line Automotive Honda Vehicles
Automotive Manufacturers Luxury Automotive Mercedes-Benz Vehicles
Automotive Service Centers Auto Service Center Napa AutoCare Center
Automotive Tires Automotive Tire Michelin Automobile Tires
Beer, Wine, Liquor Beer Yuengling Traditional Lager Beer
Beer, Wine, Liquor Light Beer Michelob Ultra Beer
Beer, Wine, Liquor Scotch Whiskey Glenlivet Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Beer, Wine, Liquor Vodka Skyy Vodka
Beverages Bottled Iced Tea Lipton Iced Tea
Beverages Diet Soft Drink Diet Coke
Beverages Soft Drink Coca-Cola
Beverages Coffee Green Mountain Coffee
Beverages Energy Drink SoBe Adrenaline Rush Energy Drink
Beverages Fruit Flavored Drink Juicy Juice
Beverages Fruit Juice Tropicana Juices
Beverages Hot Tea Lipton Teas
Beverages Bottled Water Poland Spring Bottled Water
Beverages Coconut Water Goya Coco Water
Beverages Enhanced Water Glaceau vitaminwater
Beverages Sports Drink Gatorade
Car Rentals Car Rental Enterprise Rent-A-Car
Computer-Related Products Computer Apple Computers
Computer-Related Products Tablet Computer Apple iPad (Tablet)
Computer-Related Products E-Readers Amazon Kindle e-reader
Computer-Related Products Printer HP Printing & Imaging
Consumer Electronics Car Audio Bose  In-Vehicle Audio
Consumer Electronics Consumer Electronics Sony Home Electronics
Consumer Electronics Digital Camera Canon Digital Camera
Consumer Electronics GPS Navigation System Garmin Navigation System
Cruise Line Cruise Line Royal Caribbean International
Entertainment/Recreation Gaming Platform Nintendo Wii
Entertainment/Recreation Movie Studio DreamWorks Movie Studio
Financial Services/Insurance Insurance AAA-American Automobile Insurance
Financial Services/Insurance Investment ING DIRECT
Financial Services/Insurance Payment Card Visa
Financial Services/Insurance National Bank Chase Bank
Financial Services/Insurance Super Regional Bank BB&T Bank
Foods Chocolate Candy Hershey’s Kisses Chocolate Candy
Foods Non-Chocolate Lifesavers Candy
Foods Gum Extra Gum
Foods Premium Chocolate Ghirardelli Chocolate
Foods Cookies Oreo Cookies
Foods Energy Bars Clif Energy Bars
Foods Popcorn Orville Redenbacher Popcorn
Foods Salty Snack Lay’s Chips
Foods Yogurt Chobani Greek Yogurt
Government Armed Forces U.S. Marines
Health and Beauty Products Mass-Market Cosmetics Physicians Formula Cosmetics
Health and Beauty Products Prestige Cosmetics Origins Cosmetics
Health and Beauty Products Sun Screen Neutrogena Suncare
Health and Beauty Products Weight-Loss Plan Weight Watchers
Health Care Hospital Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Health Insurance Health Insurance Blue Cross/Blue Shield
Hotels Economy Hotel America’s Best Value Inn
Hotels Extended Stay Hotel Homewood Suites by Hilton
Hotels Full-Service Hotel Marriott Hotels
Hotels Luxury Hotel W Hotels
Hotels Mid-Market Hotel Holiday Inn Hotels & Resorts
Household Products Other Carpet Shaw Carpet
Household Products Other Cookware LeCreuset Cookware
Household Products Other Everyday Dinnerware Corelle Tableware
Household Products Other Faucet Kohler Faucets
Household Products Other Gas Grill Weber Gas Grill
Household Products Other Household Cleaner Lysol All Purpose Cleaner
Household Products Other Kitchen Cabinetry Thomasville Cabinetry
Household Products Other Lawn Mower John Deere Lawn Mower
Household Products Other Innerspring Mattress Serta Mattress
Household Products Other Memory Foam Mattress Bodipedic Memory Foam Mattress
Household Products Other Paint KILZ
Household Products Other Cat Food Hills Science Diet Cat Food
Household Products Other Dog Food Cesar Canine Cuisine
Household Products Other Power Tool Craftsman Tools
Household Products Other Vacuum Cleaner Dyson Vacuum
Household Products Other Window Covering Levolor Blinds & Shades
Media Magazine Business Magazine Money Magazine
Media Magazine General-Interest Magazine National Geographic Magazine
Media Magazine Weekly News Magazine The Economist Magazine
Media Magazine Women’s Magazine Real Simple Magazine
Media News service News Service Yahoo News
Media Television TV Network CBS Television Network
Media Television Kids TV PBS KIDS Sprout
Media Television Pay Cable TV Network HBO
Media Television Topical interest TV Programming History Channel
Media Television TV News The Weather Channel
Media Television Variety TV Programming A&E Television Network
Motorcycles Motorcycle Yamaha Motorcycles
Non-Profit Corporations Animal Welfare Non-Profit Best Friends Animal Society
Non-Profit Corporations Environmental Non-Profit Wildlife Conservation Society
Non-Profit Corporations Health Non-Profit Stand Up To Cancer
Non-Profit Corporations International Aid Non-Profit Food for the Poor
Non-Profit Corporations Social Services Non-Profit American Red Cross
Non-Profit Corporations Disability Non-Profit Goodwill
Non-Profit Corporations Youth Interest Non-Profit Girl Scouts of the USA
Online Organizations Online Auto Shopping Kelly Blue Book (
Online Organizations Online Daily Deal
Online Organizations Online Job Search
Online Organizations Online Travel Service
Other Products Greeting Card Hallmark Greeting Cards
Other Products Motor Oil Pennzoil Motor Oil
Over-the-Counter Products OTC Cold / Allergy Vicks Cold Medications
Over-the-Counter Products OTC Digestive Aid Tums
Over-the-Counter Products OTC Fiber supplement Fibercon
Over-the-Counter Products OTC Laxative Phillips Milk of Magnesia
Over-the-Counter Products OTC Pain Relief Advil Pain Reliever
Over-the-Counter Products OTC Sleep Aid Tylenol PM
Resorts/Attractions Amusement Attraction Disney World
Restaurants Casual Dining Restaurant Panera Bread Restaurant
Restaurants Italian Dining Restaurant Maggiano’s Little Italy Restaurant
Restaurants Quick Service Restaurant Subway Restaurants
Restaurants Coffee & Quick Service Restaurant Einstein Bagels
Restaurants Pizza Chain Papa John’s Pizza
Retail Convenience Store Speedway Convenience Store
Retail Department Store Kohl’s Department Store
Retail Luxury Department Store Nordstrom’s Department Store
Retail Drug Store Walgreen’s Drugstores
Retail Value Retail Store Target Stores
Retail Gasoline Gasoline Retail Costco Gasoline
Sports Sport League NFL (National Football League)
Telecommunications Mobile Network Verizon Mobile Network
Telecommunications Mobile Phone Apple iPhone
Telecommunications No-Contract Mobile Carrier Verizon Wireless (no contract wireless phone)

Harris Poll ® EquiTrend® methodology

A sample of 38,529 U.S. consumers ages 15 and over were surveyed online by Harris Interactive from January 31 through February 20, 2012 and the survey took an average of 40 minutes to complete.  The sample was from the Harris Interactive online panel of respondents, a multimillion-member database consisting of cooperative respondents who have double-opted in to be randomly invited by Harris Interactive to take part in online surveys.  The total number of brands rated was 1,529.  Each respondent was asked to rate a total of 40 randomly selected brands.  Each brand received approximately 1,000 ratings.  Data were weighted to be representative of the entire U.S. population of consumers ages 15 and over based on age by sex, education, race/ethnicity, region, income, and data from respondents ages 18 and over were also weighted for their propensity to be online.  This is the same precision weighting approach Harris has used to become the leading online polling organization when calling elections.

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