Food brands dominate brand equity survey

by Eric Schroeder
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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Heinz Ketchup has displaced Hershey’s Kisses chocolate candy as the No. 1 brand in overall equity, according to a new study from Harris Interactive, a global market research firm.

The survey, known as the 2008 EquiTrend Brand Equity Study, was conducted on-line among 20,289 U.S. consumers ages 15 and over between March 27 and April 16. As part of the survey, each consumer was asked to rate 60 randomly selected brands from a total of 1,170 brands. The equity score is determined by a calculation of familiarity, quality and purchase intent.

Heinz Ketchup took home the No. 1 spot in 2008, registering an overall equity score of 79.27. Heinz was followed by M&M Plain chocolate candy (77.79), Hershey’s Milk chocolate candy bars (77.51), and Hershey’s Kisses chocolate candy (77.20). Other brands of note were Cheerios cereal, which ranked No. 6 with a score of 76.53, and Kraft Foods Inc., which came in No. 8 with a score of 75.93.

"While there are many ways to strengthen the bonds between brands and their stakeholders, it is becoming increasingly important to understand the social networks to which stakeholders belong and how they operate, in order to proactively influence the spread of positive brand experiences and minimize the damage of negative experiences," said Carol Gstalder, senior vice-president of brand and communications consulting, Harris Interactive. "This word-of-mouth marketing, combined with the historical brand equity tracking data in EquiTrend, provides a new way of looking at brands and their management in the context of a highly dynamic marketplace."

The results were particularly encouraging for the food and beverage industry, which had 6 of the top 10 scoring brands. Although Hershey’s Kisses were the No. 1 brand in 2007, the top spot traditionally has been dominated by non-food brands, including Reynolds Wrap aluminum foil, Craftsman Tools and the Discovery Channel.

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