Several components are necessary to build a prosperous business. But, there’s only one most important determining factor for a brand to achieve long-term success – brand relevance.

Brand relevance encompasses all the elements that create a strong brand and a healthy bottom line – high demand, strong appeal and products and services that add value to a customer’s life. But how can you know if your brand is relevant?

We created the Prophet Brand Relevance IndexTM (BRI) to help companies measure brand relevance and understand how it can drive growth in both the near- and long-term. In our second annual BRI, Prophet surveyed 15,000 U.S. consumers about more than 300 brands across 27 industries to find out which brands are the most central to their lives, the ones they simply cannot live without. Several interesting findings struck us, the top eight are included in the list below.

The Most Interesting Takeaways From the Brand Relevance Index:

  1. Apple remained the #1 most relevant U.S. brand. It maintained its top spot for the second time, and earned the highest score in three out of the four dimensions used to measure brand relevance.
  1. Amazons ruthless pragmatism propelled it to second place. Amazon outranked all the other brands for pragmatism, and earned the highest score of the survey for being “available when and where I need it.” But low scores for emotionally connecting with and inspiring consumers stopped it from unseating Apple as #1.
  1. Google jumped 50 spots (#55 to #5) to land in the top ten. Google made the biggest leap in brand relevance of any top ten brand due to significant improvements in trust, customer obsession and pragmatism. This past year Google has introduced several new products, from driverless cars to the Pixel phone. As a result, there has been less emphasis on privacy and data concerns, which may have negatively impacted consumers’ trust in the past.
  1. Twice as relevant? It’s also worth noting that since Google owns Android, they are represented twice in the top five. That is a major improvement from not making the top 50 brands in the Inaugural Brand Relevance Index.
  1. The six most relevant brands are technology companies. Companies like Amazon, Google and Netflix are delivering simple, intuitive and valuable customer experiences, and leaving behind the brands that are not thinking digital-first. Even brands such as Sephora and Nike, which are not traditionally thought of as technology companies, are gaining relevance by using technology to provide experiences that engage and delight consumers.
  1. Pinterest is the most relevant social media platform. It jumped from #53 to #8, Pinterest is the highest ranking social media brand in the Index. In general, social platforms that feature predominantly visual content like Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram outranked traditional leaders Facebook and Twitter, both of which didn’t even crack the top 100.
  1. Entertainment brands top the ranking in surprising numbers. Amazon, Netflix, Pixar, PlayStation and Disney all ranked among the top 15 most relevant brands. Consumers form emotional connections with brands that provide entertainment, which makes them more likely to be considered indispensable in their lives. The entertainment leaders are using technology to create customized, memorable and joyful experiences for consumers of all ages.
  1. Relevant brands are disrupting traditional category leaders. Prophet analyzed 27 industries and ranked the five most relevant brands in each. In many cases, the biggest player in a category is not the most relevant. Brands like PayPal, Southwest and Trader Joe’s outranked their competitors because they have innovated business models, experiences and products to disrupt their industries. Trader Joe’s, for instance, rose to the top because of its high scores for “inspiration” and “having a purpose I believe in.” Consumers love it’s no gimmicks approach to upscale, healthy food at an accessible price point.

The most relevant brands in the world make smart, bold moves that amaze consumers, push competitors out of consideration and – at times – define entirely new categories and markets. They push themselves to earn and re-earn customers’ loyalty again and again – always working to redefine what’s possible in their categories and in our world.

For more reading about brand relevance, follow Scott Davis’ column in Forbes. To learn more about how Prophet can help your brand become relentlessly relevant, contact us today.

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