Google leads brand charts

03 May 2011

NEW YORK: Google, Johnson & Johnson and 3M are the brand owners boasting the strongest reputations among US consumers, a new study has found.

Harris Interactive polled 30,104 adults about 60 major firms' products, financial performance, emotional appeal, workplace environment, vision and social responsibility. Digital giant Google took first, on 84.1 points.

The search firm also scored a market-leading 86.2 points for economic strength and 85.6 points regarding the conditions in which its staff work.

"We have always believed that if we focus on making the best products for our users all else will follow," Gary Briggs, Google's vice president, consumer marketing, said.

"We're honoured to be recognised in this ranking and we will continue to put our users first."

Despite several widely-publicised recalls, healthcare group Johnson & Johnson came second on the rankings, logging 83.1 points, including an unmatched 84 points for building a meaningful connection with shoppers.

"You would be proud, as I am, of the commitment of our people to rectifying these issues and bringing high-quality products back to our customers," Bill Weldon, J&J's ceo, said at a shareholder meeting last week.

"I want to encourage you to keep your faith in this great company and the people in it."

3M, parent of brands like Scotchgard and Post-it, received 82.6 points, while Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway gathered 82.3 points, the same score as 2010, when it headed the table.

Electronics pioneer Apple completed the top five, improving from 79.3 points to 82.1 points on an annual basis, boosted by the surging popularity of devices including the iPhone and iPad.

Amazon accrued the greatest numbers for purchase intent, as 68% of the panel would "definitely" trade with the online retailer in the future.

Food specialist Kraft attracted 66% here, J&J recorded 63%, soft drinks manufacturer Coca-Cola generated 62%, and General Mills, owner of Cheerios and Better Crocker, lodged 60%.

Equally, a majority of the survey sample anticipated recommending offerings provided by each of these operators to others, as Amazon again led the charts, registering 59%.

It also held a pre-eminent status discussing trust levels in the event of a problem, on 45%, followed by UPS, obtaining 44%.

Similarly, the same two firms excelled when assessing customer service, sharing 81% with J&J.

The proportion of respondents suggesting corporate America's reputation was "not good" or "terrible" racked up 77%, bettering 81% in 2010 and 88% in 2009.

Some 75% of contributors afforded a favourable rating to the technology sector, as retail delivered 57% and travel/tourism accumulated 55%.

By contrast, tobacco was awarded just 11%, financial brands claimed 22%, insurance yielded 27% and the pharma industry posted 32%.

Turning to the content of communications, J&J assumed pole position for sincerity, on 80%, where UPS achieved 78% and Kraft securing 77%.

Google enjoyed the highest returns, 69%, for overall consistency, ahead of Apple's 65%, while Kraft and Coca-Cola attained the most robust totals for ads with a "common look and feel", on 79%.

At least 80% of interviewees also viewed advertising from Disney, UPS, Apple, Kraft, Coca-Cola and Google as "easily recognisable", with Microsoft, J&J, Nike, Best Buy and Starbucks all topping 75%.

Elsewhere, 79% perceived Apple as providing consistent messages, surpassing Kraft and Disney on 76%, Coca-Cola's 72%, and the 71% received by UPS, J&J, Microsoft and Southwest Airlines.

Data sourced from Harris Interactive/Bloomberg; additional content by Warc staff