Global opinion research consultancy APCO Insight last week revealed its list of the 100 Most Loved Companies, based on findings generated by its Emotional LinkingSM model, which measures consumers’ emotional attachment to brands. The Walt Disney Company was ranked #1, but the list was largely dominated by tech companies — Yahoo!, Google and Sony rounded out the top four.
APCO's Emotional LinkingSM model measures consumers’ feelings about brands along eight dimensions, providing companies with a roadmap to understanding consumer expectations in an actionable way. The Most Loved Companies list is the result of a decade-long research project including a global survey of more than 600 of the world's largest corporate brands among more than 70,000 individuals in 15 key markets around the world. The Emotional Linking model identified eight emotions that are critical to effective brand communication: Understanding, Approachability, Relevance, Admiration, Curiosity, Identification, Empowerment and Pride.
"The best brands are those that build a strong, enduring emotional attachment with consumers," said Bryan Dumont, president, APCO Insight. "In addition to acting as a highly predictive tool for consumers' purchase choices, the Emotional Linking model has proven to be an excellent way to help companies retool their campaigns to build stronger emotional attachments between their key audiences and their brands."
Nestlé came in at #5, followed by multinational retailer Auchan (#6), Netflix (#7), Whole Foods (#8) Apple (#9) and Lowe's, at #10.
Trends in Key Industries
- Tech (Devices and Web Services) outperforms across all emotions, and scores especially well on Relevance. Success in this area equates to people thinking a brand "fits" them well, speaks to them and plays a meaningful role in their lives. Compared to other dimensions, the computer industry does less well on Curiosity, meaning the industry could work to better pique consumer interest.
- Retail performs especially well on Approachability — people feel like the industry as a whole is accessible. Conversely, it performs less well on Pride; a company scores high on Pride when people want to be associated with the brand.
- Restaurants are largely seen as Approachable, but perform less well on Empowerment, defined as making the consumer feel confident or self-assured.
- Food and Beverage Processing performs the best on instilling a sense of Pride. Compared to other emotions, the industry performs less well on Curiosity and Empowerment.
Aside from the top 10, here’s how other brands in a variety of industries fared:
- Food & Beverage — Kellogg (#12), Hershey (#13), Coca-Cola (#14), PepsiCo (#17) and General Mills (#23) landed in the top 25; others on the list include Dr Pepper Snapple (#41), Del Monte (#50), Campbell (#59), Heinz (#75), Tyson (#85) and Mars (#91).
- Restaurants — Subway ranked highest (#32), followed by Darden (#34), Tim Hortons (#61), McDonald's (#69), Yum! (#78) and Starbucks (#96).
- Automotive — Only three made the list: Toyota (#67), Volkswagen (#89) and Nissan (#98). But Harley Davidson came in at #29.
- Retail — Costco (#20), Target (#21), Amazon (#22) and Ikea (#25).
- Drug & Health — Procter & Gamble (#28), Johnson & Johnson (#47), SC Johnson (#62) and Bayer (#93).
Interestingly, no beer, spirits or wine brands made it into the top 100, and social media companies didn’t get much love, either: Facebook only came in at #81, and Twitter didn't make the list at all.
Speaking of consumer preferences, a new global consumer study by BBMG, GlobeScan and SustainAbility has identified nearly 2.5 billion consumers surveyed globally as Aspirationals, defined by their desire for responsible consumption (92%) and their trust in brands to act in the best interest of society (58%).