Apple Again Dominates Social Brands List

Apple doesn’t so much as operate a Twitter account, but its hold on fans is so great that six of its brands are judged among the most social in the world.

The iPhone claimed the top spot in social marketing shop Vitrue’s annual compilation of social brands, the second year in a row it has topped the list. Apple’s overall brand ranked No. 7. Vitrue measures the most social brands based on the volume they’re discussed in channels like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

The iPhone was joined by other Apple brands: iPad (No. 5), iPod (No. 15), iTunes (No. 33) and Mac (No. 76).

It marked the second traight year Apple has ranked well, a further testament to consumer loyalty to its product lineup and how easy it brushed aside potential slip-ups like the much-hyped “antenna gate” controversy surrounding the iPhone.

“It’s a tribute, given all the noise, that they rise above the clutter,” said Reggie Bradford, CEO of Vitrue.

Vitrue does not measure sentiment in its rankings. Vitrue’s ranking omits some well-known digital brands, including Facebook, Google and YouTube, since it reasons that these make up the social infrastructure rather than use it to connect with consumers.

Not all attention in social media is positive, of course. AT&T ranked as the biggest gainer on Vitrue’s list, leaping 45 spots to No. 32. A big chunk of those social media mentions undoubtedly were iPhone owners complaining about AT&T service problems.

Consumer-electronics brands again dominated the top slots on Vitrue’s list, occupying 30 percent of the positions. BlackBerry came in second to the iPhone, with Android, Sony and Samsung all cracking the top 10. Google’s Android made the biggest leap of the year, debuting on the list.

The 2010 list also saw the debut of luxury brands like Burberry. They have notoriously been late adopters in digital media despite their inherent advantages as status symbols.

“So many consumers self-identify with brands they like,” said Bradford. “That’s an opportunity that’s come to fruition.”