YouGov BrandIndex early-year rankings show that Amazon, Netflix, YouTube, and Google reign as best-perceived brands among consumers.
Familiarity may breed contempt in some cases, but not when it comes to brands. According to the early-year results of the YouGov BrandIndex, the brands that are best perceived by consumers, or have the best “buzz rankings” are those used most by them, with Amazon, Netflix, YouTube, and Google topping the list of “US Top Buzz Rankings.”
YouGov’s BrandIndex, now in its fifth year, ranks brands based on positive or negative “buzz” or press mentions and consumer perceptions. The index monitors 1,400 brands and conducts surveys throughout the year where respondents are asked, “If you’ve heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?”
This was the second year in a row that Amazon held the top spot, and Netflix, YouTube, and Google maintained their positions from the 2016 Annual Ranking released around six months ago. Samsung came in fifth, while Apple fell from the top 10 (it had tied Samsung for sixth in the 2017 Annual Rankings). Tech companies comprised the top 5, indicating the growing role of technology in daily life and the appreciation consumers have for it.
Cancer Treatment Centers of America dropped from fifth place at the end of 2016 to sixth place in the 2018 early-year rankings. Walgreen’s moved up from a ninth-place tie with Lowe’s Hardware at the end of 2017 to seventh place in the 2018 early-year ranking. Meanwhile, Lowe’s moved up to eighth place. Two newcomers to the list, M&M’s and Cheerios closed out the top ten in the ninth and tenth places, respectively.
Digging into the results provides some fascinating insight into what consumers are hearing and looking for when it comes to brand perception. Notably, Apple was absent from the Top 10, after holding two spots at the end of 2017 – Apple itself tied Samsung for 6th place, while the iPhone held 8th place.
The iPhone’s presence on the list in 2018 was in part due to the release of the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, and the company hasn’t had new phones released this year and in general, has seen a decline in popular perception. This has been coupled with Samsung’s rising star, lifted in no small part because of its Galaxy S8 handset which was released in March 2017 and met with rave reviews, some claiming it is better than the iPhone.
The continued dominance of Amazon, Netflix, YouTube, and Google, speak to the power of daily use and innovation. Many consumers in the US use these tech products every single day, and in many cases more than once a day, this seems to build strong positive associations and perceptions. Their commitment to developing new tech, for example, Google’s driverless cars and VR headset, also helps them positively stay in the spotlight.
“Most of those brands aren’t relinquishing their spots on the list,” YouGov CEO Ted Marzilli, told Adweek. “On the mover’s side, often we see brands that are rebounding from crises, and we didn’t see that this year. Many of the brands on the list are moving from a position of strength into an even stronger position.”
The addition of Cheerios and M&M’s to the top ten list speaks to the power of nostalgia and anniversaries, both celebrating 75 year anniversaries this year and the ability to market new offerings successfully. Cheerios has rebranded itself as organic, gluten-free and healthy as well as introducing strong new flavors.
At the same time, M&M’s have played up their anniversary celebration while building new memories as well, the company had Zedd and Aloe Blacc record a new version of their classic theme song, and they are holding a competition to pick a unique permanent flavor for their Peanut M&M line. The media loves to cover an anniversary, and these occasions spark warm memories and nostalgia among consumers.
Overall, the index speaks to the importance of creating strong connections with consumers to create a positive perception. Even with occasional PR blunders, the companies that we rely on the most tend to remain in our good graces. And the way a brand can stay in use, constant innovation and responsiveness to consumer needs and demands.
“If you focus on the customers and giving them the things they like and need, you can capture more market share,” Marzilli explained to Marketing Daily. “It’s not rocket science — it’s good business.”