The 2015 Harris Poll EquiTrend study, an annual study of brands, recently released its “Brand of the Year” awards to brands that rank highest in Equity.
The EquiTrend Brand Equity Index is comprised of three key factors—Familiarity, Quality and Consideration—that result in a Brand Equity rating for each brand. For this, the 27th annual study, more than 38,000 Americans assessed over 1,400 brands across 148 categories.
Sheetz took the 2015 brand award in the convenience store category. Shell was honored in the gasoline category. Dollar Tree ranked first in the value store category, and Costco was awarded in the warehouse club category.
The brands Americans love say a lot about how they live. The study found that in 2015, classic trusted brands increasingly co-mingle with “connected” Internet brands based.
Twelve brands have been ranked No. 1 in equity within their respective categories for five or more years in a row, and many of these scored in the top 10% of all brands measured in EquiTrend in 2015. These brands cover a range of categories, from sandwich shops (Subway), to mass merchandisers (Target), paint (KILZ), to greeting cards (Hallmark).
“Brands that build and keep their promise over time—and develop strong differentiation—stay relevant for the long term,” noted Joan Sinopoli, vice president of brand solutions at Harris Poll. “Strong equity has value and can sustain companies through hard times. Target remains one of America’s most esteemed brands despite the data breach in 2014, and consumers are willing to give it a chance to rebound.”
A look at the top non-CPG brands rated in EquiTrend magnifies the importance of technology and connectivity in simplifying and enhancing American lives. Four of the top-ranked brands owe their success to connectivity: Amazon.com, Netflix, PayPal, and YouTube.
“The degree to which connectivity has shifted brand building from something that happens over time to something that can happen in short order is amazing,” Sinopoli commented. “That’s not to say that Amazon or Netflix are comets. They have done careful planning, picked where and how to expand, and developed smart product strategies to help challenge conventional wisdom and quickly become part of how we live our lives today. That’s what branding is all about: making human connections with everyday life.”
The Next Big Thing: Mobile Wallets
As technology continues transforming financial services, for the first time, EquiTrend measured mobile payments. Despite category fragmentation and limited familiarity across brands, the category is poised to transform very quickly. PayPal, the established “click and pay” brand, leads direct competitors by a wide margin.
What does the future hold? EquiTrend shows that any wallet associated with Amazon.com, Google, Apple and major credit card providers gains a solid level of familiarity courtesy of the parent brand, as well as strong quality perceptions and a predisposition to try.
“Market fragmentation, rolling rebranding, and merchants waiting for the shakeout before investing in systems has gotten in the way of adoption,” noted Sinopoli. “When one of these brands gets the execution right and merchant acceptance hits critical mass, consumers appear ready to jump on board. Visa has changed its mobile wallet branding from V.me to Visa Checkout. Mastercard’s PayPass is now MasterPass. Both payment cards are strong financial brands, and clearly the intent is to extend that esteem and solidity to these product extensions,” stated Sinopoli.
From an equity perspective, within the financial services sector, payment cards have not been impacted by the recession. Visa has held its position as the top ranked payment card for five years running.
Harris Poll EquiTrend Methodology
Harris Poll EquiTrend is based on a sample of 38,670 U.S. consumers ages 15 and over surveyed online in English language between Jan. 8 and Feb. 2, 2015. The survey took an average of 30 minutes to complete. The total number of brands rated was 1,410. 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. Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
The Brand Equity Index is the keystone to the EquiTrend program, providing an understanding of a brand’s overall strength. A brand’s Equity is determined by a calculation of Familiarity, Quality and Purchase Consideration. Brand of the Year is determined by a simple ranking of brands.