We started with consumers.
Prophet turned to consumers to find out which brands matter most in their lives today. We surveyed more than 13,000 consumers in the United States to determine which 228 unique brands they simply cannot live without.
The Top 10 Brands
More relevant than ever
Top brand for the sixth year in a row
Apple takes the top honor again as No. 1 in our survey, with near-perfect scores in all four drivers of relevance. This year, it continues to earn adoration with innovation, dependability and inspiration. Among the first retailers to proactively close stores, the April launch of a lower-priced iPhone landed at just the right moment for cash-conscious consumers. Updated Macs and iPads dazzled homebound workers and students. And with Apple TV (we love you, Ted Lasso) it’s establishing itself as a content genius, too.
Pedaling toward happiness
Up to No. 2 from No. 35, a top brand in being “distinctively inspired”
When gym and studio closures deprived exercisers of their fitness fix, they knew they needed the mental-health benefits of sweat more than ever. Peloton, which earns the highest score for “connects with me emotionally,” saved them, nearly doubling sales of its exercise bikes and treadmills. But more importantly, it connected them to others, both through its online communities and its constantly expanding variety of workouts available live and prerecorded. These gems are powering triple-digit membership gains and impressively low dropout rates.
Best in “lives up to its promises,” climbing to No. 3 from No. 6
As the pandemic continues, America is living in the kitchen in new ways. This ever-relevant brand claimed new importance, offering reliable machines that lead people to exotic endeavors: Sourdough bread. Croissants. Fluffy slime. KitchenAid’s digital content both celebrates and informs these makers-in-chief, encouraging them to new feats of domestic bravery. And it’s also prescient. Way back in March, it unveiled Kyoto Glow as the color of the year, bathing buyers in a serene, yellow-green symbolizing optimism and tranquility.
At Peloton, everything we do is centered on improving the lives of our members. We see every touchpoint as an opportunity to motivate our Members to stay active, centered, and connected.
Jumping to No. 4 from No. 24, ranking highest in “its values align with mine”
Healthcare brands are more important than ever, and Mayo Clinic earns high marks in “has a set of beliefs and values that align with my own.” Although it has locations worldwide and treats 1.2 million people annually, its impact is bigger as a health content powerhouse. It helps shape public health policy by conducting research to better understand how to protect yourself and your loved ones during times of uncertainty.
Innovations in empathy
This “makes me happy” brand leaps to No. 5 from No. 28
LEGO, which has always aced BRI measures of quality, inspiration and innovation, makes the top five for the first time. As parents watch children struggle with isolation, anxiety and boredom, the brand made quick moves to step up its empathy. It made a $50 million gift to help families in need, funny PSAs to explain handwashing and new products to boost remote learning. And it offers children and adults alike a way to play away from screens. No wonder it ranks so highly in “makes me feel inspired.”
The best-behaved retailer
Up to No. 6 from No. 21, a top brand for “lives up to its promises” and “I trust”
COVID-19 turned supermarkets into danger zones, with mad grabs for toilet paper and hazard pay for grocery clerks. While most food retailers fell in relevance in our index this year, Costco soared, earning high marks for dependability and trustworthiness. Much of that stems from its commitment to safety, swiftly offering special hours for seniors and enforcing mandatory mask-wearing. At a time when most stores struggle with declining foot traffic, it keeps posting gains.
"KitchenAid focuses on consumers by putting them at the center of everything we do. By purposefully creating products that push the boundaries on utility and style, KitchenAid fuels passion and individuality, allowing consumers to satisfy their craving to uniquely explore in the kitchen."
Driven by dependability, it holds onto the No. 7 spot
Making cars people count on has kept Honda high in our ratings. But in what turned out to be the year of the family road trip, reliability and value take on new importance. Consistency is critical: The Accord just made the Car and Driver 10 Best pick for the 23rd consecutive year. Honda responded quickly to the pandemic, offering individualized relief for those struggling to make payments and deferred payments for new buyers. And it keeps finding new ways to engage people, like previewing the new Civic prototype on Twitch.
Data visualization for the masses
A top brand for “beliefs and values that align with my own”
Johns Hopkins scores well as a national and regional health provider that serves close to 5 million people. But it catapults into our rankings for the first time on pure innovation: It built the influential COVID-19 dashboard before many had ever heard of the virus. Johns Hopkins quickly became the No. 1 authority on global contagion, using manual inputs and automated data from more than 200 sources. It’s furthering the understanding of every user–from public-health experts to journalists to concerned citizens. It ties with the Mayo Clinic for the top score in “has a set of beliefs and values that align with my own.”
Helping gamers help each other
Rising to No. 9 from No. 16, scores best in “is modern and in touch”
Sales of video games and hours spent gaming are skyrocketing. And in part, that’s due to the long-awaited launch of PlayStation 5, which had the most successful sales launch of any console–ever. But PlayStation’s bond with gamers remains unmatched. Seen as ultra-modern, “always finding new ways to meet my needs” and “engages with me in new and creative ways,” it finds ways to take players to their happy place–and connect them to one another. With high-tech heart, it encouraged people to play at home with free games.
Mayo Clinic’s beliefs and values around caring for the wellbeing of the whole person – physically, mentally spiritually - haven’t changed, but we started to tell people about them.”
At No. 10, it excels at “always finding new ways to meet my needs”
As e-commerce everything captures consumers’ attention, Amazon takes an outsized role in helping people get their hands on what they need–despite major supply-chain upsets. And it continues to soar in key measures of pragmatism (“meets an important need in my life”) and customer obsession (“I can’t imagine my life without it.”) And people love its innovations and say it “is always finding new ways to meet my needs.” We are always on the look-out for which market Amazon is going to conquer next.
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