Corporate Eye

Most and Least Respected Brands of 2014

corporate brand office buildingThe most respected brand of 2014 is Coca-Cola while the least respected is Delta Airlines.

The ranking of the most and least respected brands of 2014 comes from the Brand Respect 2014 report from CoreBrand. Using its Corporate Branding Index, which is a 23-year quantitative study, CoreBrand’s team analyzed 1,000 corporate brands (not product or divisional brands) that have been publicly traded for more than five years, and have been tracked by its Index for more than five years.

Over 500 companies met the study’s criteria and were included in the final analysis. Each brand was ranked based on familiarity (i.e., how familiar U.S. survey respondents were with the brand) and favorability (i.e., how survey respondents who were familiar with the brand ranked it in terms of overall reputation, perception of management, and investment potential). The top 100 brands with the highest familiarity rankings were sorted by their favorability scores to create the list of the most and least respected brands of 2014. The top 10 and bottom 10 brands follow:

10 Most Respected Brands of 2014

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

10 Least Respected Brands of 2014

  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

CoreBrand warns that the least respected brands are not the same as the least favorable brands that it tracks. Rather, the least respected brands are those that have the biggest gap between familiarity and favorability among survey respondents. In other words, “These are among the most well known brands, but lag dramatically in perceptions and audience sentiment. These 10 brands represent the bottom of the most familiar in regards to brand respect.”

It’s also important to note that the data is relative. For example, Delta Airlines ranked as the least respected brand of 2014. However, in comparison to competitor airline brands, Delta ranked second highest for familiarity but it ranked lowest for favorability. The other airline brands analyzed in this study (US Airways, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and American Airlines) all suffered from similar problems and low favorability scores were common across the industry. In other words, all airline brands suffer from low brand respect.

The brands included in this study are all household names. U.S. consumers (and in many cases, consumers around the world) are extremely familiar with these brands, but for some of these brands, that familiarity can’t make up for the lack of favorability.

How does your brand stack up in terms of familiarity versus consumers’ perceptions of the brand as favorable or unfavorable? When was the last time you invested in the necessary research to determine if there is a gap between familiarity and favorability for your brand? If that gap is growing, your brand respect is decreasing. Bottom-line, this is information you need to know as a brand marketer, so invest in the research before the gap gets too big.

Image: Stella Levi

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.