A survey of 2,141 adults by the Guardian newspaper found that 67% were able to identify a brand which engendered this emotion.
However, it also reported that more than 600 brands were name-checked by participants, who were not presented with a list of potential answers, but gave unprompted replies.
Retailers led the way, with department store group John Lewis on 8%. High-street chain Marks & Spencer and online pure-play Amazon came next on 6% apiece.
They were ahead of supermarket group Tesco on 5%, a score it shared with financial services-to-retail group the Co-operative and electronics pioneer Apple.
In terms of the characteristics companies should possess, fully 79% of interviewees reported that a business must "know and respect its customers", and 71% pointed to "behaving responsibly towards the community".
Another 64% cited "communicating a clear set of values", while 62% were in favour of transparency and 61% promoted "responsibility towards the environment".
"The Guardian's Mood of the Nation survey shows that people do care about companies and brands," said Ozoda Muminova, emerging platforms insight manager at the Guardian.
"They have high expectations of how companies should behave, rewarding brands that meet these expectations and feeling worried about less than desirable business behaviours."
In keeping with these results, the poll found that three-quarters of shoppers were worried about inappropriate corporate activities such as tax avoidance, poor-quality treatment of employees and harming the planet.
"Another bit of good news is that brands can apparently 'activate happiness'. They can influence people's sense of well-being by encouraging them to be more active in all aspects of their life," said Muminova.
Fully 74% of contributors boasting with above-average activity scores were happy, and 86% of people with totals above the norm in terms of happiness were active. This latter group were the most positive about brands.
Data sourced from the Guardian; additional content by Warc staff