The Harris Poll Announces This Year’s Brands of the Year in the 2018 EquiTrend® Study

NEW YORK, April 25, 2018 – The Harris Poll’s 30th annual EquiTrend Study (EQ) reveals the strongest brands across the media, travel, financial, automotive, entertainment, retail, restaurant, technology, household and nonprofit industries, based on consumer response.

Measuring brand health over time, the EquiTrend Brand Equity Index is comprised of three factors – Familiarity, Quality and Purchase Consideration – that result in a brand equity rating for each brand. Brands ranking highest in equity receive the Harris Poll EquiTrend “Brand of the Year” award for their respective categories. This year, more than 77,000 U.S. consumers assessed more than 3,000 brands across more than 300 categories.

This year’s EQ study reflected an emerging trend in consumer behavior – the push to simplify and align with brands they know and trust. The common thread in the 2018 EQ study is waning familiarity strength among consumers. While the overall EQ study score average is stable overall, one-quarter of brands measured in 2017 showed a significant decline in EQ scores. The decline reveals that consumers are becoming less connected to a large set of brands and more connected to a smaller, select set of brands, marked by decreasing brand awareness and quality perception in this year’s study.

While many of these brands are mainstays with strong equity as a whole, it seems that in the social age of waning attention spans and the fast pace of new products, consumers are turning inward and focusing on select brands they know and trust. Only 10% of brands saw a significant increase in equity from 2017.

“The EQ study reveals that brand equity is no longer guaranteed by size or media impressions,” says The Harris Poll CEO, John Gerzema. “This is actually a time when being ‘big’ is code for being the establishment. As private label and the popularity of craft products rises, brands are now differentiated on their values, personal connection and their ability to build community.”

The Harris Poll 2018 EquiTrend Brands of the Year

This year, the 30th year that the Harris Poll has been measuring brand equity, 80 companies were awarded the coveted Brand of the Year designation, the list of category winners is provided below. We monitor over 3,000 brands, to see the top category performers, please contact us and we would be happy to send you the findings.

Award Category 2018 Brand of the Year  
Animal Welfare Nonprofit Best Friends Animal Society
Burger Restaurant Five Guys Burgers & Fries
Car Audio Bose In-Vehicle Audio
Casual Dining Restaurant (TIE) The Cheesecake Factory and Texas Roadhouse
Chicken Restaurant Chick-fil-A
Coffee Shop Krispy Kreme
Coffee Maker Keurig Coffee Makers
Computer Manufacturer Microsoft Computers
Cruise Line (TIE) Disney Cruise Line and Royal Carribean International
Department Store Kohl’s Department Stores
Digital Camera Canon Digital Cameras
Disability Nonprofit Autism Society of America
Economy Hotel Microtel Inn & Suites
Environmental Nonprofit National Wildlife Federation
Extended Stay Hotel Home2 Suites by Hilton
Factual Entertainment History Channel
Footwear Store DSW (Designer Shoe Warehouse)
Full Line Automotive Honda Vehicles
Full Service Airline Hawaiian Airlines
General Entertainment AMC Television Network (American Movie Classics)
Greeting Card Hallmark Greeting Cards
Hardware & Home Store The Home Depot
Health Nonprofit (TIE) St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Shriners Hospitals for Children
Home Entertainment Electronics Bose Home Entertainment Electronics
Ice Cream & FroYo Shop Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Shop
International Aid Nonprofit Food For The Poor
Internet Radio Service Pandora Internet Radio
Investment The Vanguard Group
Kids TV Disney Junior Television Network
Life Insurance AXA Life Insurance
Luxury Automotive Lexus Vehicles
Luxury Department Store Nordstrom Department Stores
Luxury Hotel Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
Major Appliances KitchenAid Appliances
Media Streaming Device Amazon Fire TV/Fire Stick
Mexican Restaurant Taco Bell
Mid-Market Hotel Hampton Inn & Suites
Military & Veteran Serving Nonprofit Paralyzed Veterans of America
Mobile Payment PayPal
Multi-line Insurance AAA Insurance
National Bank Capital One
News Service BBC News
Off-Price Retailer TJ Maxx Stores
Online Auto Shopping Kelley Blue Book (
Online Bank Barclays Online Bank
Online Home Search
Online Job Search
Online Travel Service TripAdvisor
Package Delivery UPS (United Parcel Service)
Pay Cable TV Network HBO Television Network
Payment Card Visa
Pizza Chain Blaze Pizza
Premium Hotel Marriott Hotels
Printer HP Printers
Property and Casualty Insurance GEICO Auto & Home Insurance
Real Estate Agency Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices
Rental Car Enterprise Rent-A-Car
Sandwich Shop (TIE) Panera and Subway
Smartphone Apple iPhone Smartphones
Smartwatch ASUS ZenWatch Smartwatch
Social Networking Site YouTube
Social Services Nonprofit Ronald McDonald House Charities
Sporting Goods Store DICK’S Sporting Goods
Sports TV ESPN Television Network
Super Regional Bank BB&T Bank
Tablet Computer Apple iPad Tablets
Tires Michelin Tires
TV Network PBS Television Network (Public Broadcasting Service)
TV News The Weather Channel
Upscale Hotel Courtyard Marriott
Value Airline Southwest Airlines
Video Streaming Subscription Netflix
Virtual Personal Assistant (TIE) Amazon Alexa and Apple Siri
Wireless Carrier Verizon Wireless
Youth Nonprofit Reading Is Fundamental (RIF)



The 2018 Harris Poll EquiTrend Study is based on a sample of 77,031 U.S. consumers ages 15 and over surveyed online, in English, between January 3 and February 15, 2018.  The survey took an average of 30 minutes to complete. The total number of brands rated was 3,015. Each respondent was asked to rate a total of 40 randomly selected brands. Each brand received approximately 1,000 ratings. Data was weighted to be representative of the entire U.S. population of consumers ages 15 and over based on age by sex, education, race/ethnicity, region, income, and data from respondents ages 18 and over were also weighted for their propensity to be online. Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

The Brand Equity Index is the keystone to the EquiTrend program, providing an understanding of a brand’s overall strength. A brand’s Equity is determined by a calculation of Familiarity, Quality and Purchase Consideration. Brand of the Year is determined by a simple ranking of brands.

The Harris Poll EquiTrend methodology has been validated by academic business experts in the Journal of Marketing Research (1994) and International Journal of Research on Marketing (2012).

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

About The Harris Poll
The Harris Poll is one of the longest-running surveys in the U.S.  tracking public opinion, motivations and social sentiment since 1963 that is now part of Harris Insights & Analytics, a global consulting and market research firm that delivers social intelligence for transformational times. We work with clients in three primary areas; building a twenty-first-century corporate reputation, crafting brand strategy and performance tracking, and earning organic media through public relations research. Our mission is to provide insights and advisory to help leaders make the best decisions possible.

The Harris Poll EquiTrend results disclosed in this release may not be used for advertising, marketing or promotional purposes without the prior written consent of Harris Poll.