NEW YORK: Coca-Cola, Hershey and Harley-Davidson were the three most powerful US brands in 2011, a report from CoreBrand, a consultancy, has claimed.

According to the new rankings, the beverage firm retained its number one spot from 2010, and has now topped the list for the last five years. Hershey also held its position from the previous year and came in second place, while Harley-Davidson rose from fifth to third.

CoreBrand compiles its list via results from an annual survey of 10,000 business executives at large advertisers, who the reputation and fame of individual brands. Each brand is then assigned an overall "Brand Power" score.

In comments accompanying the report, CoreBrand noted the impact of the recession and economic volatility of recent years in the US.

Consumer basics did particularly well on the 2011 rankings, with the FMCG sector accounting for five of the top 10 brands. Food companies also took 10 places in the top 65.

"Some companies benefit from being perceived as lower-cost alternatives within their market as others utilize their brands to be more appealing to customers," James R Gregory, CoreBrand's CEO, said.

Elsewhere on the rankings, American Express was the top financial services brand, finishing 12th, Wal-Mart was the number one retailer, in 15th, and McDonalds was the top-ranked restaurant brand in 18th.

In the technology sector, Apple enjoyed one of the biggest annual increases on the list, up 20 places from 2010 to reach 33rd.

For online firms, Yahoo was up 16 places to 45th, despite suffering what CoreBrand termed "recent struggles to identify itself and mark its territory more clearly amongst its peers". Google, Yahoo's search rival, was up 21 places to 72nd.

"Companies that thrive are ones who understand their markets," the report added. "They actively manage their brands with course corrections when needed and are responsive to customer needs."

Data sourced from CoreBrand; additional content by Warc staff