US Buzz Rankings 2011 - Half Year

Ted MarzilliCEO YouGov Direct
July 15, 2011, 2:50 PM GMT+0

YouGov BrandIndex has released a set of rankings of the US brands with the highest Buzz scores for the first half of 2011. On this page, Ted Marzilli, Global Managing Director of BrandIndex, describes the ten brands with the most Buzz overall out of the 1100 brands in 41 categories that BrandIndex tracks. The rest of the YouGov BrandIndex rankings can be found on the BrandIndex website. All of these brands were rated using YouGov BrandIndex’s Buzz score which asks respondents, "If you've heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?"

Subway takes the top spot on our list. Boosted by a unique position among quick service restaurants, the chain’s large scale (the most units of any restaurant chain worldwide) and heavy advertising (more than $400MM in 2010 according to Kantar Media) allows its brand to score major points with consumers.

Ford and Lowe's came in at respectively second and third. While home-improvement chain Lowe’s has consistently boasted a high Buzz score, Ford has made huge improvements over the last several years. Since an all-time low towards the beginning of 2009, the auto-maker has held on to gains that began with its refusal to take TARP money. This year, consumers and critics have both responded well to its new product line and the company has seen double digit increases in sales for much of the first half of the year, across multiple product lines and in key markets such as the U.S. and China.

Three internet based businesses also made the top ten list:, Netflix and Google. came in at number 4, driven by its assortment of in-demand products, often priced at an effective discount to brick and mortar rivals, its line of Kindle e-readers and accompanying store which have sold more E-Books than the website has sold print books this year, and its pioneering cloud computing service which has staked out potentially valuable real estate with online music consumers.

Fast growing movie-rental site Netflix took the number six slot. Investing in building its content library, the company has made gains by expanding from its already successful mail-delivery service to online delivery and in 2011 announced that more revenue will come via online distribution than US mail. Ubiquitous search engine Google slid into tenth. The company has just beta launched a social networking service, Google+ to positive industry and consumer reviews, but nothing could be better publicity for the company than the fact that a majority of consumers begin their internet research with the company’s search service, which has become nearly synonymous with web searching itself.

History and Discovery Channel both made the list, at respectively 5 and 9. The networks have scored with newer reality programs such as Ice Road Truckers or Deadliest Catch while also continuing to reel in viewers with old favorites like Modern Marvels and Shark Week—soon to be in its 24th year. Although both are perennial chart-toppers, History has been a more consistent favorite among US consumers as of late.

Completing the list were two other trusted names. Cheerios, beloved by babies, kids and adults, took number 7. Nielsen says the Honey Nut variety was the most popular cereal sold in the U.S. in 2011, and manufacturer General Mills claims that one in every eight boxes of cereal purchased in the U.S. is Cheerios. UPS marched into number 8. The men in brown are consistently rated high by consumers and with gas prices hovering around $4 per gallon for much of 2011, many consumers are ordering online and leaving the driving (and the fuel bills) to UPS and other delivery services. Accordingly, the company has forecasted record sales and earnings in 2011.

Please note that all Buzz scores listed on the chart have been rounded to a single decimal place. We have used additional precision, however, to distinguish scores and assign ranks.