The 10 Best-Perceived Brands Among Consumers in 2016 (So Far)

When it comes to brands, familiarity doesn’t breed contempt, at least according to YouGov BrandIndex, which released its midyear rankings of best-perceived brands today.

According to the study, the most well-regarded brands are ones consumers interact with on a daily basis. For the first half of 2016, consumers held new media and technology brands in high regard. Amazon, which has stayed in the top spot for the past two years, once again topped the list, with Netflix, YouTube and Google remaining close behind. New to the midyear ranking are M&Ms and Cheerios.

To determine its scores, YouGov polls consumers about 1,400 brands, asking them whether they’ve heard anything about the brand in the past two weeks through advertising, news or word-of-mouth that was positive or negative.

“Most of those brands aren’t relinquishing their spots on the list,” said YouGov BrandIndex CEO Ted Marzilli. “On the movers side, oftentimes we see brands that are rebounding from crises, and we didn’t see that this year. Many of the brands on the list are moving from a position of strength into an even stronger position.”

Here’s a look at the 10 best-perceived brands for the first half of 2016, according to YouGov: 


No. 10 – Cheerios

General Mills' classic cereal is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, but it landed on the list thanks in part to its addition of new flavors over the past six months and in spite of the overall declining popularity of cereal among younger consumers, Marzilli said.

“Cereal, in general, is a tough category, and research suggests that millennials don’t view it the same way that generations ahead of them did,” he said. “Cheerios is doing things to help them appeal to younger generations. They’re emphasizing ingredients and emphasizing organic, which are trends that are on the upswing.”


No. 9 – M&Ms

M&M’s, the best-selling candy in America, is also celebrating its 75th birthday this year. Its commemorative efforts, including commissioning Zedd and Aloe Blacc to record a new version of its theme song, are helping keep it top of mind with consumers.

“Anniversaries remind folks how long these brands have been around, and there’s a nostalgic aspect to them, which adds to the attractiveness of those brands,” Marzilli said.


No. 8 – Lowe’s

During the first half of the year, the DIY retailer launched ads targeting millennials buying their first homes and rolled out more social media efforts as well.

"They have a large national footprint, which helps, and their ads targeting millennials may help them reach a broader audience," Marzilli said.


No. 7 – Walgreens

Walgreens could become the biggest pharmacy chain in the U.S. if the Federal Trade Commission approves its bid to buy Rite Aid. This year, Walgreens added some tech bells and whistles, too, when it began to proactively alerting Apple Pay users of coupons when they're looking at products online or in the Walgreens app.

"While Americans have a love-hate relationship with healthcare services, the convenience aspect helps Walgreens," Marzilli said.


No. 6 – Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Two years ago, YouGov added hospitals and healthcare brands to its rankings, and Cancer Treatment Centers of America once again ranked well in the minds of consumers after appearing in the No. 5 spot on the list at the end of 2015.

"Cancer Treatment Centers of America is a pretty heavy advertiser, and they have several locations around the country, which helps them make the list," Marzilli said. "Cancer is also a disease that affects everybody in America, whether you or a family member has it, so the messaging is one that people can relate to."


No. 5 – Samsung

Samsung made the list on the heels of the successful release of the Galaxy S7 in March. In its second quarter earnings report, the brand touted its best quarter in two years. It also earned Cannes Marketer of the Year honors in 2016 for its efforts to become a consumer-centric lifestyle brand. 


No. 4 – Google

Google jumped five spots from its end-of-year ranking—from No. 9 to No. 4—due in part to a drop in negative press, Marzilli said.

"Google, because it's so big, occasionally gets into the press for the wrong reasons," he said. "There might be issues about privacy concerns or European regulations. This is a return to normal. This is how most of us feel about Google when we're not reading negative news."


No. 3 – YouTube

YouTube held onto the No. 3 spot because of its position as the go-to platform for online video. It also rolled out support for 360-degree livestreams this year.

"YouTube is the Google for video," Marzilli said. "If someone's looking for a clip from something they saw on SNL or John Oliver that weekend, YouTube is the first place they'll go to find it."


No. 2 – Netflix

Adding more buzzworthy content this year—including Making a Murderer and Season 4 of Orange Is the New Black—helped make Netflix the second most-loved brand on the list once again.

"It's a brand that has strong positioning, and it continues to get more and more subscribers," Marzilli said.


No. 1 – Amazon

The retail behemoth landed the top spot on the list for the third year in a row after the success of Echo and a new monthly subscription model for Prime.

"Amazon is the first place that many U.S. consumers think to look for something if we're shopping," Marzilli said. "It's taking a bigger position in the streaming and video space, too. It's one of those brands that's front and center in our daily lives, and that's why it's so successful."

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