The most respected brands in 2014: Who’s up … who’s down.

Brand imageIn recent years, there’s been more press than ever about “brand respect.”  Building on this interest, brand strategy firm CoreBrand decided to use historical survey data to attempt to determine the sentiment behind the world’s best-known brands.

CoreBrand uses proprietary Corporate Branding Index data – 23 years’ worth – that it has been compiling through consumer surveys covering nearly 1,000 of most famous brands.

CoreBrand’s 2014 Brand Respect Study covers the 100 brands (limited to publicly traded companies) in the CBI that chart the highest levels of market familiarity among all of the brands tracked.

CoreBrand’s scoring mechanism is pretty straightforward:  Brands with the highest familiarity and favorability are defined as “most respected,” while brands that have high familiarity but low favorability levels are the “least respected.”

For the record, here are the most respected brands as determined from the 2014 CoreBrand research:

  • #1:  Coca-Cola – the most respected
  • #2:  PepsiCo
  • #3:  Hershey
  • #4:  Bayer
  • #5:  Johnson & Johnson
  • #6:  Harley-Davidson
  • #7:  IBM
  • #8:  Apple
  • #9:  Kellogg
  • #10:  General Electric

In comparing 2014’s results to the previous year, Coke and Pepsi remain at the top of the heap – although they traded places from one year to the next.  Moreover, both brands’ favorability scores declined slightly – perhaps due to the burgeoning “better for you” foods movement that seems to be souring some consumers on soft drinks and related beverages.

New on the “Top Ten” most-respected listing this year are IBM, Apple and GE.

At the other end of the scale, these ten brands came up as the ones that are the least respected – with Delta Airlines earning the Booby Prize as “the worst of the worst”:

  • #1:  Delta Airlines – the least respected
  • #2:  H&R Block
  • #3:  Big Lots
  • #4:  Denny’s
  • #5:  Best Buy
  • #6:  Rite Aid
  • #7:  J.C. Penney
  • #8:  Capital One Financial
  • #9:  Family Dollar Stores
  • #10:  Sprint Nextel

While it’s certainly no fun to be on the “least respected” list, two of the brands – Denny’s and Family Dollar — have actually seen their scores improve significantly this year compared to last.  So at least they’re headed in the right direction.

Two other brands – Philip Morris and Foot Locker – have gone off the list.  In the case of Foot Locker, it’s because its brand favorability ratings have improved significantly enough to lift them off the list.

For Philip Morris, the reason is far more mundane:  it’s simply because its familiarity level has deteriorated so much, the brand no longer even qualifies to be part of the annual CoreBrand Brand Respect evaluation.

And finally … we come to Delta Airlines.  It’s the air carrier everyone loves to hate — and it’s dead last in the brand respect rankings.

There’s some consolation for Delta, though:  The only two other U.S.-based air carriers that qualify for inclusion in the study based on their familiarity levels (United and American) also score on the low end, although they (just) miss being on the “least respected list.”

Evidently, the airlines in general could benefit from earning more brand respect.  Good luck with that.

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