Stakeholder Trends and Insights
CPG Brands Still 'Respected' While Airlines, Retailers Lag on New CoreBrand Rankings

CoreBrand, a brand strategy and communications firm and creator of the Corporate Branding Index® (CBI), which provides continuous benchmarking data, insights and corporate brand valuation for more than 1,000 companies across 50 industries, has released its second annual report on the most and least respected corporate brands.

Brand Respect: The Most and Least Respected Corporate Brands correlates data on the levels of Familiarity and Favorability of publicly traded companies, using the 23-year quantitative CBI, to discern public sentiment behind the most well-known brands. Brands with the highest Familiarity and Favorability are defined as most respected, while brands that are well-known among consumers (identified as the 100 brands in the CBI with the highest Familiarity) but have the lowest Favorability are considered the least respected.

"The respect a brand has earned, and can keep, speaks directly to its overall valuation and acceptance — and verifying where a brand stands is essential in assessing the foundations of a company's future," said Jim Gregory, CEO of CoreBrand. "High brand respect instills trust among consumers and key stakeholders, allowing a company to maintain a strong reputation that will positively impact its business. Meanwhile, the 10 least respected brands — or simply the brands with the largest discrepancies between Familiarity and Favorability — need to realign perceptions in order to enhance their image and build back respect."

2014 Most Respected Brands

  1. Coca-Cola
  2. PepsiCo
  3. Hershey
  4. Bayer
  5. Johnson & Johnson
  6. Harley-Davidson
  7. IBM
  8. Apple
  9. Kellogg
  10. General Electric

Key Findings for the Most Respected Brands:

  • Coke retained the top spot after breaking last year's tie with PepsiCo, yet both brands declined in Favorability — partially due to the challenges each company faces from the "better-for-you foods movement."
  • IBM, Apple and General Electric are all new to the Most Respected list this year. IBM's Familiarity rebounded +4.9 points in the past year, to move the company over the threshold needed to qualify for this year's top 10 ranking — a signal that respect for the traditional leading companies may be returning in the wake of the economic crisis.
  • Apple improved by 10 spots in this year's report, evidence of the company's continued emergence as an economy-leading brand. However, Perception of Management attributes lagged in comparison to the strong growth seen in Overall Reputation and Investment Potential, most likely due to the continuing scrutiny of leadership following the passing of Steve Jobs.

2014 Least Respected Brands

  1. Delta Airlines
  2. H&R Block
  3. Big Lots
  4. Denny's
  5. Best Buy
  6. Rite Aid
  7. J.C. Penney
  8. Capital One Financial
  9. Family Dollar Stores
  10. Sprint Nextel

Key Findings for the Least Respected Brands:

  • Delta, like most airline brands, is well-known but not especially well-liked. Only United, Delta and American Airlines have high enough Familiarity in the industry to be considered for the brand respect analysis. While Delta has the lowest Favorability of the group, all airlines could benefit from more brand respect.
  • Although ranked as the fourth and ninth least respected, Denny's and Family Dollar, respectively, made the largest advancements. Denny's Familiarity increased +3.4 points and Favorability rose +2.7 points. Family Dollar's gain of +3.6 in Favorability indicates the brand is moving in the right direction and is in a better position to move off the least respected list.
  • Philip Morris and Foot Locker dropped off the Least Respected list, but for different reasons. Philip Morris' brand continues its long decline, and no longer has a Familiarity that qualifies it for this analysis. Foot Locker, who barely made it onto the list last year, has increased their Favorability by +1.8 points, allowing them to move off the list.

Other recent rankings highlight brands' sustainability efforts vs. the public’s perception of them, such as Interbrand’s “Best Global Green Brands;" and Rank a Brand’s FeelGood Fashion 2014, which highlights the discrepancy between fashion brands’ communications around their sustainability challenges and efforts, and their level of follow-through with details and data.

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