NEW YORK, April 10, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- With April 15 fast approaching, Americans who still need to complete their tax returns will be interested to learn that Intuit's TurboTax earns the Brand of the Year status among both online and location-based tax preparation brands, according to the 2014 Harris Poll EquiTrend® (EQ) study. The EQ Study measures Brand Equity from among more than 1,500 brands across 170 categories – from automotive to department stores – on the Harris Poll EquiTrend Brand Equity Index and is comprised of three key factors: Familiarity, Quality and Purchase Consideration. Also ranked above the category average among tax preparation brands is Parson Technology's TaxACT software package.
"The tax preparation category is new to EquiTrend this year and the strong Quality and Consideration scores that Americans give to TurboTax drive its Brand of the Year status," says Lisa Kerins, a Senior Vice President of Financial Services with Nielsen. "The brand is also one of the most 'Connected' brands in the category, meaning that Americans report strong positive emotion towards the brand and feel it is a good fit with who they are, two key elements in building and sustaining strong Brand Equity."
EquiTrend also measures Brand Equity in several other financial service categories, including where Americans can invest, where they might bank and which payment cards they may use.
Fidelity and The Vanguard Group receive Brand of the Year distinctions in investment categories
Like tax preparation, investing offers people the choice of taking a "do-it-yourself" approach or seeking professional advice and assistance. Last year, Fidelity was the top ranked brand among all investment brands and this year, the brand earns the Discount Brokerage Brand of the Year title, a new category this year.
For full service investment firms, The Vanguard Group earns the Investment Brand of the Year award with strong Quality and Consideration scores for 2014. Other investment brands ranking above the category average include Franklin Templeton Investments, Principal Financial, ShareBuilder, T. Rowe Price Financial Services, Edward Jones and Raymond James.
First-time recognition for PNC, while Chase Bank is top ranked for year number three
As the economy continues its recovery, Americans rate national and super regional bank brands higher this year, driving up the Brand Equity category averages for 2014. More than half of the brands measured in these two categories see significant Brand Equity gains for 2014, while six in 13 brands earn all-time highs for their Brand Equity scores.
"It's been six years since the financial crisis that impacted consumer perceptions of banks and other financial-related brands," says Kerins. "As the recovery has progressed, some of the concern that consumers had about banks in particular has waned, and savvy banks have refocused on getting their brand messages across."
Five of the seven super regional banks measured enjoy significant Brand Equity gains, with four of those brands experiencing all-time high Brand Equity scores. PNC Bank holds the highest rank for 2014, earning its best score in the six years it has been measured in EquiTrend. This performance is driven by strong gains across all three elements of Brand Equity, including Familiarity, Quality and Consideration. "PNC has grown through several mergers and acquisitions over the past few years, gaining visibility in the market," says Kerins. M&T Bank also earns strong Equity gains for 2014, while Sun Trust's and Ally Bank's Brand Equity scores are the highest each has achieved since first being introduced into the study.
For the third year in a row, Chase Bank earns the National Bank Brand of the Year award. While Chase is near the category average on Familiarity among national banks, the brand shows continued strength in both the Quality and Consideration attributes, the other Brand Equity elements measured. Also, Capital One shows significant year over year Brand Equity gains while Wells Fargo rounds out the brands ranked above the category average.
Visa earns fourth consecutive Brand of the Year Award
While investing and saving may be important, spending is a necessity. For the last 10 years, the Harris Poll EquiTrend study has measured the Brand Equity of four payment card brands and this year all four of these brands received their highest overall Brand Equity scores on record. For 2014, Visa and MasterCard continue to rank above the category average, and for the fourth year in a row, Visa is the Payment Card Brand of the Year. Its strong Familiarity, Quality and Consideration scores keep the brand ranked at the top.
Top Ranked Insurance Brands are USAA and AAA
For 2014, EquiTrend looks at the insurance category in two parts, property & casualty insurance and life insurance. Overall, three of the 21 insurance brands included in the study post Brand Equity declines, while five show strong year over year gains.
Among life insurance companies, USAA earns the Brand of the Year distinction; The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., MetLife Insurance Company, Pacific Life Insurance and Northwestern Mutual also come in ahead of the category average.
"What is interesting about USAA," says Kerins, "is that while their Familiarity is at its highest level in the 10 years we've been measuring the brand, and it ranks close to the category average, study participants give this brand high Ubiquity scores, meaning they feel the brand is 'everywhere I go.' Additionally, when looking forward for USAA, Americans say this brand is 'on its way up' more so than other brands in the category."
Four of the brands that are on the rise come from the property & casualty insurance category, with one of those Equity gainers being Property & Casualty Brand of the Year AAA Insurance. Other brands scoring above the category average include State Farm, Allstate Insurance and Nationwide Insurance.
Harris Poll EquiTrend® Methodology
A sample of 41,806 U.S. consumers ages 15 and over were surveyed online from January 3 through January 31, 2014 and the survey took an average of 30 minutes to complete. The total number of brands rated was 1,531. Each respondent was asked to rate a total of 40 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 based on age by sex, education, race/ethnicity, region, income, and data from respondents ages 18 and over were also weighted for their propensity to be online. Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
The Brand Equity Index is the keystone to the EquiTrend program, providing an understanding of a brand's overall strength. A brand's Equity is determined by a calculation of Familiarity, Quality and Purchase Consideration. Brand of the Year is determined by a simple ranking of brands.
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Harris Poll EquiTrend® study results disclosed in this release may not be used for advertising, marketing or promotional purposes without the prior written consent of Harris Poll.
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About Nielsen & The Harris Poll
On February 3, 2014, Nielsen acquired Harris Interactive and The Harris Poll. Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com.
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SOURCE Harris Interactive