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American Icons Top BrandPower List

An icon is a symbol that evokes a visceral feeling when you see it. They’re well-known images that nearly everyone can relate to and generally they represent the very best a category has to offer.

All that may sound very grandiose when talking about advertising, but there are handful of brands that truly are American icons. You’ll find most of them at the top of CoreBrand’s 2011 PowerRanking Report.

To build the list, CoreBrands surveyed 10,000 consumers asking them to rank brand names based on familiarity, reputation, and favorability over other brands. The usual suspects landed on top without too much shuffling in the rankings over the past few years. Harley-Davidson jumped up after a decline but I don’t get why they’re listed in the Hotel & Entertainment industry.

Looking specifically at retail, CoreBrands notes that the report shows a shift toward “value-based purchasing.” Kohl’s, Wal-Mart, and J.C. Penney all showed growth.

MasterCard and Visa both rose up in the ranks, too, but not a single bank or insurance companies made the top 100. That shows quite clearly how we feel about those industries.

In technology, Apple jumped from 53rd in 2010 to 33rd on the current list. Microsoft and Dell both rose 14 spaces but old-school leader IBM fell to 66th on the list. Back in 2008, they were in the top 20. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

In spite of their troubles, Yahoo rose 46 points since 2008 and not surprisingly Google and eBay have soared to grand heights.

Looking strictly at growth over last year, the New York Stock Exchange came out on top (ironically) rising 29 points. that put them barely inside the Top 100 for the first time in years. The biggest losers? TV networks. All three took big hits this year but at least they’re equally disliked: NBC (-26), CBS (-28) and ABC (-24).

If you were to pick the top brand in the US, what would you pick? Would Coca-Cola reign supreme, or do you think some other icon should top the BrandPower list?