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TODD SMITH: Band-Aid, Amazon, Google top brand index

TODD SMITH

Band-Aid, Amazon and Google are the strongest brands according to the latest YouGov 2017 BrandIndex. Craftsman and Dawn rounded out the Top 5.

Johnson & Johnson fell out of the Top 10 this year, from number 6 to number 11. Quaker replaced it in the Top 10.

The Top 20 Brands With Best Ad Awareness chart reveals that this year, 19 of the Top 20 brands with the highest ad awareness scores were down by statistically significant margins compared to last year—with the exception being Sprint.

To calculate advertising awareness, respondents were asked,

“Which of the following brands have you seen an advertisement for in the past two weeks?”

Brands that made the biggest awareness gains since last year include Uber, Blue Apron, Trivago, Dollar Shave Club, Lyft, Hulu, Nintendo, Mattress Firm, Stella Artois, and Sprint.

A big drop by Apple (was 18, now 22) and Dish Network (was 12, now 32) took both brands out of the list this year.

Two new brands entered the ad awareness Top 20 this year: Sprint (11) and Pizza Hut (21).

Brandchannel interviewed YouGov BrandIndex’s CEO Ted Marzilli, to discuss the Top 10 brands and the risers in the ad awareness category.

1. What is unique and consistent amongst this year’s Top 10 brands that puts them in this category?

Innovation and usefulness are rewarded by consumers. None of the companies on this list could ever be considered “complacent.” It’s a high, difficult bar to reach, and a lot of luck and serendipity are involved. But there is no question about the payoff when those two elements come together.

2. To what do you attribute Walmart’s being the biggest gainer in the past year?

By nature, Walmart is a fighter and it doesn’t intend to let Amazon run away with the online trophy so easily. Its brand health improved considerably once it bought ecommerce superstore Jet.com for $3.3 billion, instantly putting it in a much more competitive position with Amazon. It overhauled its grocery departments and debuted its own mobile payment app, all likely contributing to its move up.

3. With Uber rising to the top spot in terms of ad health, have recent headlines—albeit critical ones—lifted Uber’s brand awareness?

Uber may have had its issues this year, but its name has become as ubiquitous as Coca-Cola for ride sharing. The best brands still advertise even when hitting rough spots. See Toyota and their massive recalls and Congressional appearances of 2010—it never stopped advertising its product.

YouGov BrandIndex tracks the perception of more than 1,500 major brands daily, interviewing 4,800 people every week day from a representative sample of the U.S. population, totaling more than 1.5 million interviews per year.

The primary ranking uses YouGov BrandIndex’s flagship INDEX score as measurement of brand health and averages six sub-scores: General Impression, Quality, Value, Satisfaction, Reputation, and Willingness to Recommend.

Find out more about the healthiest and most visible brands at the BrandIndex.com.

Facebook Fights Fake News 

Facebook has launched “Related Articles” that appear below news links to stories lots of people are posting about on Facebook, or that are suspected to be false news and have been externally fact checked by Facebook’s partners. Appearing before someone reads, Related Articles will surface links to additional reporting on the same topic to provide different viewpoints, and to truthfulness reports from the fact checkers.

If users see drastically different angles when they compare a story to its Related Articles, they might deem it suspicious and skip it, be less likely to believe or share it, or could click through the Related Articles and make up their own mind. That could reduce the spread and impact of false news without Facebook itself having to be the honesty police. Related Articles could also balance out some of the radical invective that can subtly polarize the populace.

Pre-click Related Articles have rolled out in the U.S., Germany, France, and the Netherlands. These countries were chosen to get the rollout first because Facebook has established fact-checking partnerships there. “We don’t want to be and are not the arbiters of the truth. The fact checkers can give the signal of whether a story is true or false,” said Facebook News Feed integrity product manager Tessa Lyons.

Meanwhile, Facebook’s machine learning algorithm has improved its accuracy and speed, so the social network will now send more potential hoaxes to fact checkers.

Facebook has shown Related Articles after people click links since at least 2014. Even then it was getting flack for dispensing fake news. In April Facebook tested the new pre-click version as part of its multi-prong attack on fake news following criticism that misinformation influenced the 2016 U.S. presidential election. That includes downranking hoaxes and click bait, reducing referral traffic to ad-filled spam sites to cut off their funding, and promoting local journalism and news literacy.

Most directly, it partnered with Snopes, AP, PolitiFact and others external agencies so it can add warning labels to stories externally vetted as false.

Golden Mic | Rick Cleveland, Sports Legend  

The Spin Cycle grew up reading the pearls of wisdom from legendary sports writer Rick Cleveland. My lifelong love of sports – especially football – was fueled in large part from his magic and passion that made the words come alive on the sports pages of history.

It’s only fitting that Cleveland has been inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. There’s no one more deserving of this enshrinement!

He is the head coach of sports writers across the state and throughout the Southeast, and can write with the best of them. Cleveland has been the draft writer of Mississippi sports for more than four decades. He launched his career as a freelancer for the Hattiesburg American, then spent years at The Clarion-Ledger – and now writes for Mississippi Today, while also penning a syndicated column.

Cleveland is former director of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. The establishment of the hall had a lot to do with a column he wrote 20 years ago about the need for a sacred place to recognize the legends of Mississippi sports history. In writing about the legends, in bringing their feats to life in living color, Cleveland himself has become a legend, and for that he wins the Golden Mic!

Each week, The Spin Cycle will bestow a Golden Mic Award to the person, group or company in the court of public opinion that best exemplifies the tenets of solid PR, marketing and advertising – and those who don’t. Stay tuned – and step-up to the mic! And remember … Amplify Your Brand!

Todd Smith is president and chief communications officer of Deane, Smith & Partners, a full-service branding, PR, marketing and advertising firm with offices in Jackson. The firm — based in Nashville, Tenn. — is also affiliated with Mad Genius. Contact him at todd@deanesmithpartners.com, and follow him @spinsurgeon.

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