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Ups and Downs of the U.S. Consumer Brands

Sony tops the list in the annual Harris Poll of "best brands" for an impressive seventh consecutive year. Dell retains its No. 2 spot, while Coca-Cola, previously in the fourth position, moves up to No. 3 spot.

These are some of the results of a nationwide Harris Poll of 2,351 U.S. adults surveyed online by Harris Interactive between June 7 and 13, 2006. Survey responses were unaided and a list of brand names was not presented to respondents. The results from this survey cannot be compared to results of the Harris Interactive 2006 EquiTrend Brand Study results, as the methodologies for the surveys differ.

The other places on the top-10 list of best brands are taken by Ford (No. 5), Honda (No. 6), Hewlett Packard (No. 7), General Electric (No. 8), Kraft Foods (No. 9) and Apple (No. 10). However, two brands 'dropped out' of the list this year, General Motors and Microsoft. Other brands that receive a substantial number of mentions but not enough to make the top-10 list include Chevrolet, Panasonic, Pepsi Cola, Nike and Maytag.

But, brand recognition clearly isn't everything that it's made up to be. Sir Howard Stringer, the first non-Japanese chairman and CEO of Sony, might prefer that the company's revenue and profits would track more closely with the ups and downs of brand awareness. While Sony has made significant progress under Stringer's leadership, there's still room for improvement. I still recall when the Walkman was where the Ipod is today, as the top performer mobile CE device.

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