WASHINGTON: Walt Disney, Yahoo! and Google have been identified as the world's top three most-loved companies in a new survey based on the emotional attachment 70,000 global consumers experienced with brands.

APCO Worldwide, the engagement consultancy, used its "Emotional Linking" model to draw up a table of the world's top 100 most-loved brands out of a sample of more than 600 of the world's largest companies across 15 markets.

The study measured eight emotional feelings consumers have towards brands, measured as understanding, approachability, relevance, admiration, curiosity, identification, empowerment and pride.

Technology outperformed other categories across all emotions, but was particularly noted for relevance, meaning that it plays a meaningful role in people's lives.

Joining Yahoo! and Google in the top ten, Sony was ranked fourth, Netflix seventh and Apple ninth with Microsoft just outside at eleventh, although eBay and Facebook were ranked No. 76 and No. 81 respectively.

Retail performed well on approachability, although less well on pride, and the top ten included French retailer Auchan at sixth, the Texas-based Whole Foods chain at eighth and the Lowe's home improvement chain at tenth.

Nestlé, the Swiss food and beverage group, rounded out the top ten in fifth while Coca-Cola, at No. 14, was just ahead of rival PepsiCo at No. 17, AdWeek reported.

"We've known for decades that emotions guide brand choices, but why does that matter?" asked Nancy Bachrach, former CMO at Grey Advertising.

"We need to know which emotions will affect your brand's bottom line and APCO Insight has finally cracked the code," she said.

Data sourced from APCO Insight, AdWeek; additional content by Warc staff