It's earnings season, and each day brings new reports of how brands have fared in the marketplace. For us, this time is always a strange sort of celebration. Though no champagne or greeting cards are involved, we at Brand Keys do admit to some corporate congratulations of our own as we compare what we predicted against what actually came to pass.

Fear not for our objective researcher soul, however. There is no danger of our collective egos running amok. We cannot help as we examine the data to remember it isn't our personal prescience but our predictive metrics that deliver the kind of line-up we see between our engagement rankings and corporate earnings. Without the consumer data, we would be left to tea leaves or listening to Charlie Sheen rants backwards to try to discern the future. And, frankly, that's a strategy that's not only intellectually painful, but also more miss than hit. Just sayin'.

An examination of the rankings in the Customer Loyalty Engagement Index (CLEI) shows that McDonald's ranked #1 in the Quick Serve Food Category. The brand also happened to report a net income rise of 11% or $1.15 a share. That's compared with $1.1 billion or a $1 a share in the period a year earlier. Revenue increased 9%. It's good to be #1!

Wells Fargo also ranked first in the top-five brands in the banking category in our CLEI. It posted a record profit of 48% percent in the first quarter. Bank of America ranked #5 and saw their profits fall 36%. Turns out that being #1 is better than being #5 - some truths are indeed eternal.

AT&T, #1 in the Wireless Carrier category, posted a 39% increase in first-quarter profits, a net income of $3.4 billion and a revenue climb of more than 2%, despite losing the exclusive rights to sell the iPhone in the United States halfway through the period. Verizon, armed with iPhone ranked #2, and saw earnings rise 51 cents a share, from $443 million, or 16 cents in the same quarter a year ago.

In the Smartphone CLEI category, Apple ranked #1. Aided by the Verizon iPhone deal and updates of the iPad and MacBook it reported a net income rise of 95% to $5.99 billion. That's up from $3.07 billion in the year-ago quarter. Nokia, despite its partnership with Microsoft, ranked #5 (of 7) in Smartphone category. It reported that profits fell in the first quarter. Sales in North America fell 36%, and the average selling price fell 6% from a year earlier.

Xerox moved up a rank to tie for #2 in the Multifunctional Product Office Copier. It reported a rise in profit and revenue, with a net income of $281 million (in contrast to a loss of $42 million in the period a year earlier) with sales up 16%.

There you have it. Mere coincidence? You be the judge. Or give us a call. We promise you won't have to listen to Charlie Sheen - and we may even have cake.