CHARLOTTE, N.C., April 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Business Journals today named Apple, Inc. the 2012 Grand Award winner as part of its ninth-annual American Brand Excellence Awards, which recognize brands that best meet the needs of small to mid-sized businesses (SMB). This year marks the second consecutive year that Apple, a pioneer in brand excellence, has received the award.
The Business Journals also awarded Brand Excellence Awards to companies in six additional business categories:
Business Services: UPS
Retail: The UPS Store
Telecommunications: Verizon Wireless
Travel: Southwest Airlines
"Year after year, the American Brand Excellence Awards serve as a unique way to dive into the minds of business owners to determine how they view the companies that play a key role in their success on a regular basis," said Michael Olivieri, Chief Revenue Officer of American City Business Journals, parent company of The Business Journals. "The results of this year's study prove how dynamic these companies really are and continue to offer the highest class of service to the SMB community, as five of the six winning brands took the same titles just last year."
Over 250 business brands were rated and over 2,000 SMB owners and managers participated in The Business Journals' annual proprietary study. The winning companies were chosen as the brands who best met the needs of small and mid-sized business owners and managers. The criteria used to select the American Brand Excellence Award winners include "easy to do business with," "industry leader," "forward thinking," "for growing companies," "behaves ethically," "growing in popularity" and "has a good price for what you get."
The Business Journals' Business of Brands study identified that the penetration and use of social media as a marketing tool among the SMB market was a key focus for this year. The study found that today, over half (56 percent) of SMBs are including social media as part of their marketing strategy, a significant increase from 49 percent last year.
Several social media brands made an impact on this year's study, including Facebook which was included for the first time and ranked as #10 across all brands that were ranked. LinkedIn, which was one of the biggest gainers on the list, moved to the #27 overall slot from #40 just last year. Twitter came in third among social media brands and ranked #40 overall in the study.
"Networking has always been a critical business tool for SMBs and social networks give this community an easy and convenient link to stay in touch with those they do business with, enabling them to extend their relationships," said Godfrey Phillips, VP of Research for The Business Journals. "The increase in social media brands to our ranking correlates to our study finding that SMBs find it necessary to stay connected even more. In fact, SMBs are staying connected 40 minutes longer each day and two-thirds of our respondents are connected more than eight hours a day. This finding translates into an increased business usage of mobility products such as tablets, smartphones and even cloud computing, helping to explain the reasoning behind some of our award winners."
The Business Journals has published a special feature on the American Brand Excellence Award winners and the overall top 25 brands named as part of The Business Journals' annual study.
For more information regarding The Business Journals proprietary brand study, please contact Godfrey Phillips, VP of Research, 212-500-0616 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
About The Business Journals
The Business Journals is the premier media solutions platform for companies strategically targeting business decision makers. We deliver a total business audience of more than 10 million people via our 42 websites, 62 publications and more than 700 annual industry leading events. Headquartered in Charlotte, NC, The Business Journals has sales offices in Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. It is a subsidiary of American City Business Journals, a unit of Advance Publishing, Inc., whose properties include Conde Nast Publications, and the Fairchild and Golf Digest Companies.
SOURCE The Business Journals