One side effect of our interconnected, internet world is that for all the free stuff we get (social media, news, entertainment) we pay with our attention. As many others have pointed out, in the internet age, to a large degree, we are the product.
This isn’t a particularly welcome analogy to the companies that promote their products online. That’s partly why advertising that plays up the values behind a company’s brand gets spread across all media: digital, print, TV, billboards. The advertising is the promise, and consumer value is the delivery.
Brand consultancy Prophet has published a list of America’s top brands based on a survey of more than 12,000 U.S. consumers who were asked about 299 brands in 37 different industries. Brand scores were based on four criteria that add up to what Prophet calls brand relevance: “customer obsessed” to deliver what consumers want; “pervasively innovative” to find new ways and new products to deliver what consumers want; “ruthlessly pragmatic” to make sure their products are available to consumers at the time they are needed; and “distinctively inspired” to drive an emotional connection to the brand.
According to Prophet, these are the top 10 brands for U.S. consumers:
- Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL)
- Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN)
- Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX)
- Android (Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL))
- Google (Alphabet)
- KitchenAid (Whirlpool Inc. (NYSE: WHR))
- Spotify Technology S.A. (NYSE: SPOT)
- Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE)
This marks Apple’s fourth year at the top of this list. Prophet comments that the company “continues to be unbeatable in measures of customer obsession and ground-breaking innovation.”
Nike, in the news recently for its new ad campaign featuring NFL player Colin Kaepernick, “always pushes the status quo, delivering products and experiences beyond expectations,” according to Prophet’s report.
Surprisingly, perhaps, the only social media company to make the top 10 was Pinterest, which respondents said “makes me feel inspired” and “engages with me in new and creative ways.”
Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat did not even make the top 100. In fact, Facebook dropped 102 places on the list to rank 205th in the survey. Instagram dropped 72 places to rank 131st, Snapchat dropped 87 places to 197th and Starbucks dropped 93 places to rank 153rd.
Among millennials, the top five brands are Netflix, Amazon, KitchenAid, Apple and Google. Among women, the top brands were Apple, Netflix, Pinterest, Amazon and Android. For men, the top brands were Amazon, Apple, PlayStation, Spotify and Samsung. Among non-millennials, the top five were Apple, Amazon, Pinterest, Android and Netflix.
The report on the top 10 brands is available here, along with a link to the full Prophet report and methodology.