Apple, Samsung and Microsoft Named Most Relevant Brands by Prophet's New Brand Relevance Index

Consumer Favorites Chick-fil-A, Sephora and Spotify Also Rank in the Top Ten of Prophet's Index, the First to Measure Which Brands Matter Most in Consumers' Lives

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwired - January 11, 2016) - Prophet, a global brand and marketing consultancy, today unveiled the findings of its inaugural Brand Relevance Index (BRI). Technology companies Apple, Samsung and Microsoft topped the list as the most relevant consumer brands today.

The BRI surveyed 10,000 U.S. consumers about 400 brands across 27 industries, and determined the top 10 most relevant brands are Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Netflix, Nike, Chick-fil-A, Amazon, Spotify, LEGO and Sephora.

"Although there are already several brand lists and rankings, none speak directly to consumers to assess which brands are the most indispensable to their lives. The Prophet BRI is the first and only index to do so," said Scott Davis, chief growth officer at Prophet.

Prophet, a long-time leader in brand strategy, identified relevance as the single biggest determining factor for a brand's long-term success, and created the Index as a way to quantify this important characteristic for businesses and brand leaders.

"It is not enough to be relevant to a consumer at one moment in time," continued Davis. "Brands need to earn and re-earn loyalty at every point in the customer journey, again and again. They have to be relentlessly relevant. The brands that scored high in our Index enjoy healthy long-term demand and a strong bottom line because they are constantly reinventing themselves to satisfy and delight consumers."

Prophet identified and measured four principles of relentlessly relevant brands. They are:

  • Customer obsessed - Committed to meeting the important needs in peoples' lives.
  • Ruthlessly pragmatic - Making consumers' lives easier by always being available where and when people need it.
  • Pervasively innovative - Continuously looking for new and creative ways to engage with consumers and address unmet needs.
  • Distinctively inspired - Forging emotional connections with consumers, earning their trust and often existing to fulfill a larger purpose.

David Aaker, vice-chairman at Prophet, has been a thought leader on the importance of relevance for several years, and wrote about its significance in his pioneering book, Brand Relevance: Making Competitors Irrelevant. He observed, "Apple has been disrupting the status quo for an entire generation by repeatedly creating 'must-haves' that define new subcategories. Then they manage those subcategories with energy and personal commitment to keep them fresh and relevant."

Apple was the highest rated brand across each of the four principles of brand relevance. Samsung and Microsoft both scored high for customer obsession and their ability to act on evolving consumer desires, but Samsung had the edge when it came to innovation. Other brands in the top 10 were buoyed by their mastery of one of the principles. For example, consumers credited Amazon for being ruthlessly pragmatic -- always being there when and where they need it. And LEGO was recognized as distinctively inspired because of its ability to build strong emotional connections with consumers.

Top 50 Most Relevant Brands

The Prophet Brand Relevance Index used consumer responses to rank the 50 most relevant brands in the U.S., as well as identify the leaders in several industries. It also uncovered some surprising findings about these top brands, including:

  • Technology companies like Google, Snapchat and Facebook aren't ranked in top 50 most relevant brands because they performed poorly on one of the major factors of brand relevance -- trust. Concerns about data privacy and security have given rise to consumer unease with the practices of some technology companies.
  • Folgers (#25) outperformed Starbucks (#42). Folgers scored high in dependability, trust and as "a brand I can't imagine living without." It has a loyal following, especially among non-urban consumers who don't have access or the disposable income for regular trips to Starbucks.
  • Traditional brands like Betty Crocker, Band-Aid and Clorox ranked in the top 25, beating out trendier brands like Dove, Under Armour and YouTube. Consumers see Band-Aid and Clorox as very pragmatic and trustworthy -- both qualities that are essential to relevance. Although brands like Dove and Under Armour score high for innovation, they have not earned the levels of equity that these other venerable brands enjoy. 

"The companies listed in the BRI can teach us all a great deal about how to build exceptional brands and grow better businesses," said Jesse Purewal, associate partner at Prophet, and co-author of the Brand Relevance Index. "Brands need to strive for excellence in all four principles in order to remain relentlessly relevant to consumers. Just mastering one or two is not enough."


The BRI surveyed 10,000 U.S. consumers about 400 brands across 27 industries. Companies from all industries that contribute materially to U.S. household spend were included in the study, except brands in the tobacco and firearms categories or those engaged in primarily business-to-business (B2B) categories.

Each participating consumer rated up to five brands within a single category on 16 different attributes that corresponded to the four principles of relevance Prophet identified. To rate a brand, a consumer had to be familiar with the brand and a frequent consumer in the brand's category. For each brand, a score was first computed for each of the 16 attributes. That attribute score was then mathematically averaged to come up with that brand's total relevance score. More information about the methodology can be found here.

For a complete list of all 50 brands ranked in the Prophet Brand Relevance Index, and for information about how your brand can become more relevant to consumers, visit and register for our webinar, The Brand Relevance Index: Brands Consumers Can't Live Without, outlining the full results.

About Prophet

Prophet is a global brand and marketing consultancy that fuses insights, strategy, creativity and imagination to help clients grow better brands and businesses. We uncover deeper customer insights, build stronger brand relevance and deliver engaging customer experiences for some of the world's most successful companies such as Electrolux, T-Mobile, GE, Keurig Green Mountain, UBS, Gatorade, Cisco, Target, and ThyssenKrupp AG. Our 300+ experts in marketing, innovation, digital and design help companies bridge the gap between strategy and execution to drive real market impact.

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Katie Lamkin

Top Ten Brands in Prophet's Brand Relevance Survey