Why Amazon Was Crowned The Best U.S. Brand

Which other U.S. brands performed best in the minds of consumers in 2014, and why.

Branding

Market research firm YouGov has released its 2014 Global Rankings of brand sentiment and revealed ecommerce giant Amazon remains the best-perceived brand in the U.S. What other brands are among the top 10 favorites of U.S. consumers, and why?

Calling it “the earth’s most customer-centric company,” online marketing expert Bryan Eisenberg said there are several reasons Amazon is able to maintain its lead, which essentially include focusing on inputs rather than outputs.

In other words, instead of zeroing in on sales, conversions, and traffic figures, Amazon has made selection, price, shipping, and customer service its priorities.

To wit: Amazon has five to seven times the category selection of any of its competitors and has built software to monitor prices and makes price changes over 2.5 million times per day, Eisenberg said.

“So if you’re looking for TVs, they’re going to have 50 to 70 versus Best Buy with 10 and from a price point of view, they’re going to be somewhere between 5 and 13 percent less than their top five competitors,” Eisenberg said.

In addition, Amazon has optimized its warehouses so that 90+ percent of its items ship from a nearby location, Eisenberg said.

He also notes that Amazon ranks 13 percent higher than its competitors on the American Customer Satisfaction Index because “everyone from the CEO down has to sit at least two days every two years on the customer service front lines.”

Eisenberg said other brands should take a page from Amazon’s book and strive to be more customer-centric, which essentially means understanding what the inputs are for their own unique businesses.

He also cites Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ accessibility with his widely known jeff@amazon.com email address as another key differentiator between Amazon and other brands and as another reason it ranks so high in brand sentiment.

“It’s those inputs,” Eisenberg said. “They know that if they take care of prices, selection, availability and the customer experience that outputs in the long term will take care of themselves.”

Kristin Kovner, president of marketing firm K-Squared Strategies, said it’s noteworthy Amazon topped the list even before its success at the Golden Globes.

“As Amazon moves into more areas of content and commerce – including offline – it will be interesting to see if they maintain that spot next year,” she said.

Beyond Amazon, YouGov attributes streaming content to the rise of YouTube and Netflix, which each have three spots on its worldwide lists. In The U.S., YouTube was ranked second and Netflix followed in third.

Quick service chain Subway ranked fourth in the U.S., which YouGov says “remains one of the fastest-growing restaurant franchises worldwide.”

Globally, technology and telecom brands like Samsung, Apple, and Google that lead the pack. In the U.S., they come in at fifth, sixth, and seventh, respectively.

YouGov attributes Samsung’s place on the U.S. list to its “breakneck pace of product introductions,” while Google has continued “to evolve into home innovation, healthcare, anti-aging and robotics.”

Home improvement chain Lowe’s was ranked eighth, in part because of its #LowesFixinSix Vines, which have been widely touted as an effective use of the platform, according to YouGov.

And rounding out the top U.S. brands are Ford in ninth place and Cheerios in 10th.

YouGov points to Cheerios’ 2014 Super Bowl ad, Gracie, which featured an interracial family and has 5.7 million views to date, as a factor in its placement.

To determine the rankings, YouGov 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?” and assigns a score from 100 to -100 with a zero score equaling a neutral position based on that feedback.

Tessa Wegert, communications director at digital marketing agency Enlighten, noted that many of the U.S. brands are in the digital and tech space.

“We can attribute this to the ongoing shift in consumer behavior and our increased consumption of digital media, but I have to believe that brand storytelling plays a part as well,” she said. “There was so much focus on quality, value-driven content last year, and that message has made it to consumers. If they associate Amazon, YouTube, Netflix, or Apple with delivering worthwhile entertainment through their products and digital platforms, it stands to reason that their perception of those brands will be more positive.”

Kovner agreed, saying the number of digital brands shows how pervasive digital media has become in consumers’ everyday lives, as well as how much media budgets have grown.

“It’s interesting that many of the digital brands are so personalized to each user. The ‘something for everyone’ phenomenon is as true of YouTube as it is of Amazon and Netflix, so perhaps consumers are responding to the idea that these massive platforms provide whatever they need,” Kovner said.

Why do you think U.S. consumers rank these brands so highly?

Welcome to Momentology

Momentology is the leading digital marketing strategy and news resource for senior marketers who believe in a strong customer-centric focus and want to learn how to be visible and persuasive in the moments that really matter.