#1 Amazon: Keeping a lock on the top spot for the past three years, Amazon introduced more products in the first half that seemed to have caught on. Their three most notable ones: the surprise success of Echo, YouTube competitor Video Direct, and a new monthly subscription model for Prime.
#2 Netflix: Repeating in the number two slot, Netflix kept water coolers occupied with the fourth season of “Orange Is The New Black,” the premiere of the acclaimed Aziz Ansari series “Master Of None,” and the buzzy docu-series “Making A Murderer.”
#3 YouTube: As the go-to short video channel, YouTube rolled out support for 360-degree live streams and spatial audio and a live message service that lets YouTube users chat about videos they are watching in real time.
#4 Google: Google has pioneered virtual reality with its Cardboard viewer incorporated into many marketing and advertising campaigns. Gmail achieved one billion active monthly users.
#5 Samsung: The company’s much-hyped Galaxy S7 handset launched in mid-March to glowing reviews, some touting it as better than the iPhone. With iPhone sales stalling, Samsung’s timing couldn’t have been better. The payoff was underscores in their recent 2Q earnings report, which reported their best quarter in two years.
#6 Cancer Treatment Centers of America: Computerworld named CTCA among “The 100 Best Places To Work in IT” for the fifth year in a row. The company unveiled a new $2.5 million main entrance at it Philadelphia hospital, which has a café, bistro, gas fireplace, a hair salon and spa, a retail pharmacy and a gift shop.
#7 Walgreen’s: The drug store chain rolled out sales of Naloxone, an opiate overdose antidote, without a prescription. Walgreen’s began to proactively alert Apple Pay users of coupons when they are looking at a product online or in the Walgreens app.
#8 Lowe’s: In January, the DIY retailer announced the hiring of 46,000 spring seasonal workers. At the same time, they introduced Iris, a “smart” home security system featuring professional monitoring and cellular backup.
#9 M&Ms: Launching a 75th anniversary in March with an ad featuring an updated version of the song “The Candyman,” M&Ms asked consumers to vote on the next permanent flavor of peanut M&M’s.
#10 Cheerios: Also celebrating 75 years, Cheerios has been the perception standout in a declining cereal market. Now being marketed as gluten-free, parent company General Mills unveiled new recipes for Frosted Cheerios, Chocolate Cheerios, and Fruity Cheerios. Which include fruit and vegetables juices instead of artificial ingredients.
Gainers: Mid-Year 2016 Report
When we compile our gainers lists, whether it’s mid-year like this one or an entire year in review every January, about half of the entries are brands rebounding from challenging consumer perception crises. It has not been unusual to see brands such as major banks, BP, Toyota, and General Motors in the past.
Not this time.
This round of mid-year gainers is overwhelmingly about top brands improving their perception with consumers and strengthening their already well-regarded positions.
Four of the top 10 best perceived brands in the first half of the year also made four of the biggest perception gains: Google, Amazon, YouTube and Netflix. Usually there are perhaps one or two of the top 10 brands on both lists. So consider the first half of 2016 the time when the strong became stronger.
Facebook, with the largest perception increase, is hovering just outside the top 10 ranking at #12. Delving deeper into user marketing, becoming the “de facto” calendar of millions of user schedules, as well as cracking open massive livestreaming with Facebook Live, the social network has become even more tightly wound into Americans’ lives.
Nike had one of its most competitive half years, notably fending off Adidas and Under Armour, and still came out with the fourth highest gain. Basketball star LeBron James has a lifetime endorsement deal with Nike, and this was the year he led the Cleveland Cavaliers to their first NBA championship. Right after that victory, Nike released an ad touting its Nike LeBron Soldier 10 sneakers that he wore during the finals.
As the only TV network on this list, and one that has appeared here before. NBC has benefited from “America’s Got Talent’s” highest ratings in two years, the second highest average viewership for the 2015-2016 season, the triumph of “Sunday Night Football,” and the continued viral success of videos spun off of Jimmy Fallon’s “Tonight Show” segments.
McDonald’s appearance signals a rebound for the once-troubled fast food chain. We have written here about McDonald’s long-descending perception numbers as QSRs have fought to remain relevant. Their turning point started last fall, when they made breakfast an all-day meal. Then the company began to revamp the look of many of its restaurants. By the time 2016 arrived, McDonald’s was viewed in a whole new light and now competitors are experimenting with their own breakfast plans.
Comcast/Xfinity had some of the worst consumer satisfaction scores in the cable business, which came to light when it attempted to merge with Time Warner Cable. After that fell apart, Comcast set apart repairing its service and image, and it seems to be succeeding. We documented this comeback recently, and it’s gone well enough to make them the fifth biggest gainer.
Of the three comebacks on this ranking, Chevrolet is the only one solely tied to a major crisis: the General Motors faulty ignition switch trials and recalls the broke open in February 2014. The Chevrolet line had the most recalls, so it suffered a large perception drop along with GM’s even larger one. Two years later, Chevrolet is still rebounding, very much in line with other crisis comeback brands.
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?”
Buzz scores can range from 100 to -100 and are compiled by subtracting negative feedback from positive. A zero score means equal positive and negative feedback.
The Buzz Rankings chart shows the brands with the highest average Buzz scores between January and June 2016. The Buzz Improvers chart ranks the brands with the highest increase in Buzz comparing January through June scores in years 2015 and 2016. Both scores are representative of the general population.
All Buzz scores listed have been rounded to a single decimal place, however, we have used additional precision to assign ranks.
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