Tesla Among Most Valuable Brands

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A recent survey of consumers’ perceptions of innovative technology brands includes the usual suspects at the top of the list, but one, perhaps, unusual suspect sneaked into the top five.

The top four innovators did not change from 2014, although last year’s second- and third-ranked companies switch places. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) ranks first again in 2015, followed by Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL), Samsung Electronics and Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN). Replacing Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) in the fifth spot is HBO, the premium cable channel belonging to Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX). Microsoft tumbled to 11th in the ranking. HBO was not included at all in the top 20 list from 2014.

Rounding out this year’s top 10 are Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX), Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB), SoundCloud, YouTube and LinkedIn Corp. (NYSE: LNKD).

Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) landed in 17th place this year, which is something of a miracle when you consider how few cars it sells compared with the number of Apple-branded items sold. Tesla has carved out a technology leadership position based on perception more than actually experience. While that may be relatively easy to do, it is difficult to maintain. We will need to check back with next year’s survey.

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Robert Passikoff, founder and president of Brand Keys, which conducts the survey, said:

While it may be hard to believe, there was a time when consumers actually feared … technological innovation. Consumers equated innovation and technology with a greater likelihood of something to go wrong, but clearly not anymore. The 21st century may not have delivered flying cars, but it is clearly meeting its potential in terms of providing products and services that better meet consumers’ expectations when it comes to technology. … The consumer’s expectation for constant innovation, and the expansion of technological innovation, is crossing over [business-to-consumer] and [business-to-business] lines more and more. This accounts for the addition of the seven new brands on this year’s list. Each new brand stands for something that advances the category in which they compete, with a lot of consumer-to-business crossover.

The seven new companies to the list are SoundCloud, KickStarter, Square, Slack, Tesla Motors, HBO and Line.

The addition of HBO to the top five likely is due to the cable network’s decision to offer its programming as a streaming service for $15 a month with no cable carrier subscription required. Consumers, many of whom have long demanded a la carte video choices, noticed and pushed HBO into the top ranks of tech innovators. Considering that pay TV has been around for more than 40 years and no one has ever really accused the industry of being an innovator, HBO’s ascension is quite a compliment.

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The Brand Keys press release is available here.