The annual brand equity study from Harris Interactive not only measures Americans' current impressions of various brands, it also shows what attributes product and service brands must strengthen if they hope to excel with consumers.
"While Visa's past and present equity track record is powerful, its future also appears bright," says Aron Galonsky, Senior Vice President, Harris Interactive. "This Brand of the Year posts the highest score in Brand Momentum, a forward-looking metric that takes into consideration Brand Energy, Future Outlook, Ubiquity, and Popularity. It may be Visa's ability to continue to drive its brand momentum that makes its brand leadership so sustainable, year after year."
MasterCard - a direct competitor to Visa - has long been the perennial number two brand in this category, and this year is no different.
Beyond payment cards, the Harris Poll EquiTrend study also evaluates several additional industries within the financial services sector, including Insurance Companies, National Retail Banks, and Super Regional Banks; it then awards the Brand of the Year distinction to the highest-ranked brand in each category.
AAA Debuts as Brand of the Year
American Automobile Association (AAA) earns the title 2012 Harris Poll EquiTrend Insurance Brand of the Year.
"What makes AAA's ranking so interesting is that it offers auto, homeowners', renters', and other types of insurance through other companies," says Robert Fronk, Executive Vice President at Harris Interactive.
While AAA places first in Purchase Consideration, it is likely that consumers' positive experiences with AAA's whole range of services have imparted a halo effect upon the company and its insurance offerings. "There is a lesson that can be learned from AAA," continues Fronk. "By carefully building your brand, you will open doors to other opportunities beyond your core business."
AAA, in its debut appearance, replaces USAA Financial Services, which had been highest-ranked by consumers in three of the past five years. USAA specializes in offering insurance to active-duty U.S. military personnel, veterans, and their families. Meanwhile, State Farm Insurance, which was top-ranked in 2010, MetLife Insurance Company, Travelers Insurance, New York Life Insurance Company, and Allstate Insurance Company follow AAA and USAA and also post equity scores above category average.
Chase Still Highest-Ranked in its Category
In the new Harris Poll EquiTrend category, National Retail Bank, Chase Bank is highest ranked, with top scores in both Quality and Usage Consideration. While second-place finisher, Wells Fargo, has lower Familiarity scores than the other national retail banks surveyed, the bank earns the second spot with above-average Quality and Usage Consideration scores.
BB&T Bank Leads the Regional Charts
North Carolina-based BB&T Bank is the 2012 Harris Poll EquiTrend Super Regional Retail Bank Brand of the Year.
"BB&T has experienced a significant improvement in brand equity in 2012", continues Galonsky. "BB&T's move to the top of the rankings is not only driven by category-high Quality scores, but also by consumers' stronger intention to use BB&T."
Super Regional Bank is a new Harris Poll EquiTrend category for 2012. Buffalo, New York based M&T Bank places second among the super-regional banks, with strong brand equity driven by higher Usage Consideration scores. Meanwhile, Birmingham, Alabama based Regions Bank places third with strong Quality scores.