New York—For the second year in a row, Target came out on top with the strongest brand equity among retail brands. While the Minneapolis-based Target is smaller than its rival giant Walmart, the store was named the 2011 Harris Poll EquiTrend Value Retail Brand of the Year.
Other “Brands of the Year” were also announced: New Balance in athletic footwear, and Bobbi Brown in cosmetics. Overall, awards are given in each of 46 different categories.
According to Harris Interactive’s report released Thursday, Target continues to lead the way in the Value Retail category, with the gap between runner-up Walmart increasing. In a segment where retailers are attempting to drive business by combining cool brand names with reasonable prices, Target seems to be hitting the mark and building its brand equity.
Tops in Athletic Footwear: New Balance
“In difficult economic times, consumers look for value.” said Jeni Lee Chapman, executive vice president of brand and communications consulting at Harris Interactive. “Target is seen as a retailer with strong brand equity especially when compared to its competition. As consumers consolidate where they choose to spend their paychecks, those retailers with the highest brand equity are going to obtain greater share of that spending.”
In the highly competitive athletic footwear market, New Balance, relatively small compared to its competition, ranked highest among athletic and casual footwear, followed by Sperry, Nike, and ASICS. As footwear giants Nike and Adidas wage advertising and market share battles, smaller brands are winning over consumers.
“As consumers search for value across segments, smaller brands are taking advantage of this and emerging on top,” said Chapman. “New Balance is delivering on consumer desire for well made products at a reasonable cost for the everyday athlete.”
In the Cosmetics category, Bobbi Brown is the Brand of the Year, Sephora and Rimmel are ranked second and third in the Cosmetics category.
The EquiTrend study evaluates measures including: equity, consumer connection, commitment, brand behavior, brand advocacy, and trust. The keystone to the program is equity, which provides an understanding of a brand’s overall strength and is determined by a calculation of familiarity, quality, and purchase consideration.
This year’s Harris Poll EquiTrend study was conducted online among 25,099 U.S. consumers ages 15 and over between January 11 and 27. A total of 1,273 brands were rated in 53 separate categories. Each respondent was asked to rate a total of 60 randomly selected brands. Each brand received approximately 1,000 ratings. Data were weighted to be representative of the entire U.S. population of consumers ages 15 and over on the basis of age sex, education, race/ethnicity, region, and income, and data from respondents ages 18 and over were also weighted for their propensity to be online.