A New Standard
Being a Champion Brand puts companies in a leadership position and gives them a competitive edge. The bonds they have solidified are capable of growing sales, improving employee loyalty, producing favorable policy outcomes and ultimately a better bottom-line outcome for their business. Some companies excel at particular aspects of engagement, but only those who master Alignment, Authenticity, Attachment or Advocacy are Champion Brands. These Champion Brands recognize that the Four As are the path to success and they continually strive to improve against each of them.
APCO measured nearly 600 of the world's public and private companies on Alignment, Authenticity, Attachment and Advocacy. They are all ranked within their industry based on how close they are to achieving Champion Brand status.
Our survey is different from other surveys in two primary ways:
It is based on a more holistic and comprehensive model that brings together the very best thinking about corporate reputation and brand.
There are countless numbers of ratings and rankings of companies. However, these studies have relied on single theories or models. We believe that corporate reputation is absolutely important, but no longer enough to distinguish the very best companies that stand the test of time and can endure. Similarly, authenticity and trust are important notions, but cannot fully explain the changing relationship between companies and society. Brand relationship theory and the importance of building emotional connections are well-established for product brands, but have been largely overlooked in understanding the corporate brand. And while Shared Value is forward-thinking and plays an important role in how companies are seeking to distinguish themselves, it has yet to be operationalized into a comprehensive approach to understanding and creating corporate brand value. The Champion Brand model not only brings these important models together, it helps uncover the relationship between these theories.
It focuses on gaining insight from the hyper-influential stakebroker group – our newly identified audience that is of growing importance to corporate brands.
Simply put, we believe stakebrokers matter and that the general public has very little engagement with corporate brands. We discovered the stakebroker in the segmentation analysis which showed there was a unique population that was more likely to engage with companies from a broad, 360-degree perspective. We believe the stakebroker has a uniquely important role with respect to corporate brands. They engage with companies at a completely different level than the rest of the public and are more equipped to influence others. Other surveys either focus on the broader general public (e.g. Reputation Institute, Harris Reputation Quotient, Interbrand), or only very discrete audiences that are peers, not influencers (e.g. Fortune Most Admired). Ours focused on gaining insights from this highly influential stakebroker group. No other survey on the market has done this before.
With the help of APCO's model, other companies can learn from Champion Brands and chart their own paths to success.
Top 50 Global
Of the 383 companies that operate globally, the following companies were among the top 50 receiving the highest Champion Brand Index ratings, based on the Champion Brand “Four A” model.
|Costco Wholesale Corporation|
|Deere & Company|
|Ford Motor Company|
|H.J. Heinz Company|
|The Hershey Company|
|Home Depot |
|International Business Machines (IBM)|
|Johnson & Johnson|
|Levi Strauss & Co|
|Procter & Gamble|
|SC Johnson & Son|
|Sharp Electronics Corporation|
|Stanley Black & Decker|
|The Coca-Cola Company|
Top 30 Regional
Of the 186 companies that operate only in a few countries (not globally), the following companies were among the top 30 receiving the highest Champion Brand Index ratings, based on the Champion Brand “Four A” model.
|Agricultural Bank of China|
|Del Monte Foods|
|East Japan Railway|
|Hartford Financial Services Group|
|John Lewis Partnership|
|Petco Animal Supplies|
|Publix Super Markets|
|St. Jude Medical|
|Whole Foods Market|
The Champion Brand Index is a first-of-its-kind global opinion survey of 78,000 people in 15 countries conducted by APCO Insight®, that measures nearly 600 of the world's public and private companies against four key dimensions that define a Champion Brand: Alignment, Authenticity, Attachment and Advocacy.
The complete survey was conducted between June 4th and September 10th, 2012. A pre-test of the survey instrument was carried out in China and the United States prior to fielding of the full study.
The total sample size for the survey is 78,839. Of these, 9,569 stakebrokers were sampled who were included in the second part of the survey that asked questions about specific companies.
|United States ||13,813 ||930|
|Canada ||3,320 ||721|
|Mexico ||1,312 ||561|
|Brazil ||1,375 ||611|
|United Kingdom ||5,946 ||683|
|France ||4,164 ||529|
|Germany ||3,301 ||597|
|Italy ||1,660 ||532|
|Spain ||2,534 ||722|
|Russia ||2,345 ||567|
|China ||1,387 ||773|
|Hong Kong ||2,235 ||631|
|India ||1,331 ||579|
|Japan ||29,005 ||609|
|Australia ||5,111 ||524|
How were the countries that were included chosen?
The countries were selected to ensure adequate representation across major OECD nations across key regions. Together, the countries included in the survey account for nearly 80 percent of global economic output.
Who was surveyed?
The survey was divided into two parts: the first section included general questions about attitudes and engagement behaviors as it relates to companies generally. The second part of the survey asked respondents to answer questions about specific companies. The first part of the survey was asked among a random sample of the general public (all adults 18 years or older) in each country. The second part of the survey was asked among a screened subset of the general public sample we call "stakebrokers." Stakebrokers are highly influential members of the general public who are more likely to engage with companies and corporate brands.
What questions did the survey ask?
The survey questionnaire is divided into two major parts. The first part is asked of all respondents (representing the general public in each country). This section of the questionnaire includes questions about incidence and frequency of information seeking, engagement and other behaviors associated with interactions with companies. It also includes questions about various attitudes related to companies generally, and provided the basis for identifying the stakebroker audience segment and thereby determining eligibility to complete the second part of the survey. The second part of the survey focused on measuring perceptions of individual companies applying the Champion Brand Model. All respondents also answered a series of behavioral, demographic and psychographic questions in order to classify respondents and to facilitate weighting that ensured the data were representative of population characteristics.
What is the "margin of error" for the survey?
The margin of sampling error for questions based on the full sample (both stakebrokers and non-stakebrokers) that describe the larger social trends, such as the percentage of people who agree that global companies have a bigger impact on my life than government, the margin of error is ±.35%
The average confidence level for the Champion Brand Index is ±0.88. This means that if one company has a Champion Brand Index of 65.3 and another company has a Champion Brand Index that is below 64.2 or above 66.2 (CBI ±0.88), we can be confident (at the 95 percent confidence level) that there is a statistically significant difference between the companies' scores. For the "A Scores," the following average margin of sampling error: Alignment: ±0.06; Authenticity: ±0.08; Attachment: ±0.08; Advocacy: ±0.18.
The margin of sampling error for questions based on the full sample (both stakebrokers and non-stakebrokers), that describe the larger social trends, such as the percentage of people who agree that global companies have a bigger impact on my life than government, the margin of error is ±.35%
How was the survey administered?
The survey was administered online to random samples of panelists from a global general public panel. Respondents were sampled using an algorithm to ensure demographic and regional representation within each country. The survey instrument was interactive and engaging.
How long did it take a respondent to complete the survey?
The average respondent took fifteen minutes to complete the survey.
Is the survey representative and how was the data weighted?
The data were also standardized to reflect well-known and systematic cross-cultural variation in the use of response scales. Cultural factors can lead to response biases where respondents in some countries select either extreme or modest answers, or fail to use the entire range of the scale. For instance, respondents in some cultures (especially Latin America) tend to only use the very high-end of a 0-10 scale. Research has shown that this is due to how individuals in certain cultures use and interpret scales, rather than a "true" assessment of the underlying variable. Put more simply, a person in Mexico who gives a favorability score of 8 on a scale of 0-10 most likely does not share the same opinion as someone in the United States who also gives a score of 8. To make the answers between these two hypothetical respondents comparable, we need to take into account different cultural understanding of what an 8 on a scale of 0-10 actually means.
"The principal aim of standardization is a reduction or elimination of unwanted cross-cultural differences that are not due to variables of interest, but rather response sets and methodological artifacts." (Van de Vijver, F., & Leung, K. (1997). Methods and data analysis of comparative research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.)
APCO Insight applied a common cross-national standardization technique that adjusts the data based on the grand means and standard deviations of ratings within countries. The standardization of the data allows us to make more realistic comparisons of data between regions and countries, while also ensuring that grading biases do not affect the global ratings of individual companies. This method of adjusting or "centering" the data along means and standard deviations helps to ensure that the answer between our two hypothetical respondents in Mexico and the United States are practically comparable.
How many companies were included?
How was the list of companies developed?
Our goal was to include the world's largest companies – both public and private. We started with the Forbes Global 2000 List of the 2,000 largest public companies. The Forbes list was chosen because it takes into account multiple factors to rank the size of the company (sales, profits, assets and market value). We supplemented this list with the Forbes list of the largest private companies. The criteria for selection was as follows, in priority order: 1) The top 250 companies from the Forbes Global 2000 List; 2) The top 30 companies from the Forbes list of largest private companies (which have revenues not less than the top 250 public companies); 3) At least the top 10 companies in each industry. Any companies that operate only regionally within a given country (such as regionally based utility companies) were removed from consideration.