Smaller Regional Financial Brands Gaining Traction in 2011 Harris Poll EquiTrend® Study

Small, Regional Banks Top Retail Bank Category; Legacy Investment Companies Losing Brand Equity; Traditional Insurance Companies Favored Over Online Competitors

Visa and MasterCard Dominate Payment Card Category

Mar 28, 2011, 12:00 ET from Harris Interactive

NEW YORK, March 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Consumer confidence in some financial service categories is shifting towards smaller more regional brands according to the 2011 Harris Poll EquiTrend® study as the Financial Services Brands of the Year are released in four categories: Retail Bank (BBVA Compass Bank); Financial Investment (The Principal Financial Group); Insurance (USAA), and Payment Card (Visa). Overall, awards are given in each of 46 different categories.

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In the Retail Bank category, those smaller, regional banks bested their large, national counterparts, with BBVA Compass named Brand of the Year, and Huntington National Bank second.  In fact, none of big four national banks was in the top five for brand equity, with Chase being the highest ranked among national banks. Overall, the brand equity of financial services companies improved over 2010, however, consumer opinion of traditional brokerage brands continued to suffer a financial crisis hangover.  Of the traditional brokerage brands, only Credit Suisse Financial services finished among the top five, with The Principal Financial being awarded the 2011 Harris Poll EquiTrend Investment Services Brand of the Year, followed by TIAA-CREF Financial Services and Fidelity Investment Financial Services.

"When it comes to banking and investment brands, consumers seem to be leaning more toward local brands," said Jeni Lee Chapman, Executive Vice President of Brand and Communication Consulting for Harris Interactive.  "The feeling that larger financial companies let consumers down continues to weigh heavy on those brands. They will have to work hard to regain consumer trust."

In contrast, traditional insurance companies like USAA, the 2011 Harris Poll EquiTrend Insurance Brand of the Year, and State Farm led the Insurance category, warding off online competitors and their advertising/marketing onslaught. Visa, which was by far the highest ranked financial brand in the payment card category, was named Harris Poll EquiTrend Payment Card Brand of the Year, with MasterCard taking the runner-up spot.

"Virtual companies have made huge strides in many areas but continue to face challenges in the insurance arena," said Chapman. "It's hard to avoid the advertising for insurance companies as they battle for market share but when it comes to brand equity, consumers continue to prefer the larger, trusted institutions."

Methodology

The EquiTrend® study evaluates measures including: Equity, Consumer Connection, Commitment, Brand Behavior, Brand Advocacy, and Trust. The keystone to the program is Equity, which provides an understanding of a brand's overall strength and is determined by a calculation of Familiarity, Quality, and Purchase Consideration.

This year's Harris Poll EquiTrend® study was conducted online among 25,099 U.S. consumers ages 15 and over between January 11 and 27, 2011. A total of 1,273 brands were rated in 53 separate categories. Each respondent was asked to rate a total of 60 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 on the basis of age sex, education, race/ethnicity, region, and income, and data from respondents ages 18 and over were also weighted for their propensity to be online.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The EquiTrend® study results disclosed in this release may not be used for advertising, marketing or promotional purposes without the prior written consent of Harris Interactive.

Product and brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

For a complete listing of all the brands covered in the study, contact Dagney Cassella at 212-539-9600 or dcassella@harrisinteractive.com.

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

Press Contact:
Corporate Communications
Harris Interactive
212-539-9600
press@harrisinteractive.net

SOURCE Harris Interactive



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