The 2012 Harris Poll EquiTrend (EQ) study has been released, recognizing brands across industries that are identified by consumers as superior.
This year, EquiTrend assessed 1,500-plus brands across more than 127 product categories. Fifteen brands have demonstrated staying power by ranking No. 1 in their respective categories every year since 2005 (when the current EquiTrend methodology began).
Subway Restaurants sits atop the quick-service restaurant category, and is one of the 15 brands that have consistently ranked No. 1. In addition to Subway, other brands that have led their categories since the poll was first conducted include:
- Blue Cross Blue Shield (health insurance)
- Coca-Cola (soft drink)
- Craftsman (power tool)
- Gatorade (sports drink)
- Hallmark Greeting Cards (greeting card)
- HBO (pay cable TV network)
- Holiday Inn Hotels and Resorts (mid-market hotel)
- Life Savers (non-chocolate candy)
- National Geographic Magazine (general interest magazine)
- Oreos (cookie)
- Sony Consumer Electronics (consumer electronics)
- Southwest Airlines (value airline)
- Verizon Mobile Network (mobile network)
- Visa (payment card)
According to Aron Galonsky, senior vice president for Harris Interactive's Brand and Communications Consulting Group, these eight-time highest-ranked companies stand out for their brand momentum. To have strong momentum, a brand must be seen as a 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," Galonsky said. "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."
Other brands leading their restaurant categories this year include:
- Panera Bread Restaurant (casual dining)
- Maggiano's Little Italy Restaurant (Italian dining)
- Einstein Bagels (coffee and quick-service)
- Papa John's (pizza chain)
A few brands have suffered steep declines over the last year including Groupon, which is seeing increasing competition from Woot.com and Living Social.
Other brands that have dropped include the scandal-rocked Susan G. Komen for the Cure, BlackBerry, and a handful of financial services companies such as Credit Suisse Financial Services, Bank of New York Mellon, Amerigroup and Fannie Mae.
Brands of the Year
This year, 127 brands became a "Brand of the Year" in their respective categories. Those that are part of the foodservice industry include:
- Yuengling Traditional Lager Beer (beer, wine liquor)
- Michelob Ultra Beer (light beer)
- Glenlivet Single Malt Scotch Whisky (Scotch Whiskey)
- Skyy Vodka (vodka)
- Lipton Iced Tea (bottled iced tea)
- Diet Coke (diet soft drink)
- Coca-cola (soft drink)
- Green Mountain Coffee (coffee)
- SoBe Adrenaline Rush Energy Drink (energy drink)
- Juicy Juice (fruit flavored drink)
- Tropicana Juices (fruit juice)
- Lipton Teas (hot tea)
- Poland Spring Bottled Water (bottled water)
- Goya Coco Water (coconut water)
- Glaceau vitaminwater (enhanced water)
- Gatorade (sports drink)
A sample of 38,529 U.S. consumers ages 15 and over were surveyed online by Harris Interactive from Jan. 31 through Feb. 20, 2011, and the survey took an average of 40 minutes to complete. The total number of brands rated was 1,529.
Read more about trends and statistics.