Delta Air Lines has made big changes over the past year or two: its terminal experiences have vastly improved as have in-flight amenities. But the company can't get respect. It is, in fact, the least respected brand in CoreBrand's second annual "Brand Respect: The Most and Least Respected Corporate Brands."
Big soda gets the most love in the study, which is based on data from an ongoing survey of around 10,000 business decision-makers from the top 20% of U.S. businesses. Companies with both high familiarity and favorability are defined as most respected, while brands that have strong familiarity but lowest favorability are respect laggards. Coca-Cola, number one, is followed by PepsiCo.
Jim Gregory, CoreBrand's CEO, said in a statement that high respect among industry executives translates to trust among consumers and stakeholders. The study says that even though Coke and Pepsi are on top, their favorability is actually down because people are more health-conscious. After Pepsi comes Hershey, Bayer, Johnson & Johnson, Harley-Davidson, IBM, Apple, Kellogg and, at tenth place, General Electric. IBM, General Electric and, yes, Apple are new to the Most Respected list. The firm says that IBM's strong showing may be a sign of returning respect for traditional leading companies.
The firm speculates that Apple's improvement follows perception that the company's momentum will continue despite the death of Steve Jobs, though perception of management lags. The only airlines that were considered were Delta, United, and American Airlines because they were the only ones with high enough familiarity measures. Delta has the lowest favorability of the group and, needless to say, of the three airlines. After Delta are H&R Block, Big Lots, Denny's, Best Buy, Rite Aid, J.C. Penney, Capital One Financial, Family Dollar and Sprint Nextel, at number 10, meaning the most respected of the least respected brands.
The report says that Denny's and Family Dollar, despite being among the ten most-dissed brands, have actually advanced. Philip Morris and Foot Locker are off the Least Respected list, Philip Morris because it no longer has familiarity numbers that even qualifies it for the analysis, and Foot Locker because it has gained favorability.