The 10 Brands Businesspeople Respect Most (and Least)

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by Ayaz Nanji

Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are the the most respected US brands by business decision-makers, according to a recent report from CoreBrand.

However, though the two companies top the 2014 list, both are viewed less favorably than a year ago—perhaps due to the increasing interest in healthy foods by consumers.

The report was based on data from an ongoing survey of business decision-makers who are polled about their impressions of 1,000 publicly traded US companies. The level of “respect” is determined by looking at both familiarity (awareness) and favorability (overall reputation, perception of management, and investment potential) of the tracked brands.

The 10 most respected brands by respondents include companies from a mix of industries, including consumer goods (Hershey, Kellogg), health/pharmaceuticals (Bayer, Johnson & Johnson), and technology (Apple, IBM):

1. Coca-Cola
2. PepsiCo
3. Hershey
4. Bayer
5. Johnson & Johnson
6. Harley-Davidson
7. IBM
8. Apple
9. Kellogg
10. General Electric

The least respected brands by respondents also come from a mix of industries, including airlines (Delta), financial (H&R Block, Capital One), and retail (Best Buy, J.C. Penney):

1. Delta Airlines 
2. H&R Block
3. Big Lots
4. Denny’s
5. Best Buy
6. Rite Aid
7. J.C. Penney
8. Capital One Financial
9. Family Dollar Stores
10. Sprint Nextel

Important to note is that the 10 brands listed above are not the least-liked companies of all those tracked by CoreBrand. Rather, they are the ones with the largest discrepancies between familiarity and favorability. Put another way: These 10 companies are the bottom of the most familiar in regards to brand respect.

Delta is a prime example of the gap between familiarity and favorability. Though the company lands at the top of the least-respected list, it is actually viewed about as favorably as other major airlines (which are all generally disliked by business decision-makers). However, Delta is one of the most well-known airlines by respondents, so its low favorability is especially noticeable based on CoreBrand’s criteria.

About the research: The report was based on data from an ongoing survey of business decision-makers who are polled regularly about their impressions of 1,000 publicly traded US companies. The level of “respect” was determined by looking at both familiarity (awareness) and favorability (overall reputation, perception of management, and investment potential) of the tracked brands.