The Brands That Defined 2018

Which brands won 2018, who’s on the rise, and key lessons for brands to take into the new year...
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Best in show

These are the companies that dominated American culture and commerce in 2018, as determined by more than 1.5 million survey interviews conducted on over 2,000 brands by Morning Consult this year. Full methodology.

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The Most Loved Brand
AMAZON

For the second year in a row, Amazon is the company that Americans love the most, with a net favorability of 79. Their appeal is strong across all 50 states. 

Very favorable BY STATE
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The Brand Most People Told Their Friends About
NETFLIX

People don’t only love Netflix, they want to make sure friends know about it – more so than any other brand. Overall, 74 percent of adults would be very likely to recommend the streaming service.

PROMOTION BY GENERATION
% who are very likely to recommend
Gen-Z (18-21) 77%
Millennials 77%
Gen-X 75%
Boomers 69%
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The Brand On The Rise
DoorDash

2018 was a banner year for food delivery apps. DoorDash, UberEats, and Grubhub all saw double digit growth in the percentage of consumers who recognized their brand since the start of the year. 

TOP SHIFTS IN BRAND ID
Net shift in brand ID
DoorDash +15
UberEATS +12
Chewy.com +11
Purple Mattresses +11
Grubhub +10
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The Brand Most People Wanted to Buy From
WALMART

In 2018, no company had a larger pool of potentially interested consumers than Walmart, as 69 percent say they are either very likely or absolutely certain they would consider purchasing from the company.

PURCHASING CONSIDERATION BY INCOME GROUP
Percent who are likely to purchase from Walmart
Income: Under $50k 71%
Income: $50-100k 70%
Income: $100k+ 62%
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The Most Admired Employer(s)
AMAZON + GOOGLE (Tie)

Sixty percent of Americans say they would be proud to work for either Amazon or Google – the highest level for any company. They also perform well just among college graduates, who are largely attracted to the tech industry. Read more.

MOST ADMIRED EMPLOYERS
Among all adults Among college grads
Amazon 60% 65%
Google 60% 64%
Microsoft 59% 66%
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Want to know how your brand performed in 2018?

Schedule a Brand Intelligence demo, and we can walk you through your 2018 brand vitals. Brand Intelligence is the most comprehensive brand-tracking platform today, combining survey research data with social media, news, and economic data to guide every strategic decision your organization needs to make.

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Lessons Learned

Morning Consult’s research in 2018 shined a light on the biggest issues and trends facing companies. Here are seven key lessons for brands to take into the new year.

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Have a firm grasp on which political issues are winners and losers.

In this climate, brands need to understand when to speak out. We tested 12 hot button political issues with consumers and asked them whether they would support companies that speak out on each issue. View the full list.

NET SUPPORT FOR BRANDS THAT ADVOCATE FOR:
What's a good issue for your brand?
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Honesty is the most important value to millennials.

We tested 22 different values, from integrity to spirituality, and asked millennials how important each was in their personal lives. Read more.

THE MOST IMPORTANT VALUES TO MILLENNIALS
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Don’t talk about Trump.

Speaking about Trump – either positively or negatively – is far more likely to generate backlash than win your brand any favor. For example, saying something negative about Trump leads 56% of Trump voters to have a much less favorable view of your brand, but just 32% of Clinton voters to have a much more favorable view. For every person you’re making happy, there are almost twice as many who are unhappy. That trend holds if you issue a positive statement. Learn more.

What do Trump voters think about your brand?
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Consumers want accountability after a public brand controversy.

A majority (53%) of consumers say taking formal steps to make sure nothing similar happens is the most important thing for a company to do when facing a major controversy. Learn more.

Do consumers trust your brand?
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The allure of tech and entertainment remains strong for workers.

Tech companies Amazon, Google, and Microsoft are the three most admired employers, with entertainment brands Walt Disney and Netflix trailing close behind. Additionally, a majority of workers are interested in taking a job in either industry. Read more.

PERCENT OF WORKERS WHO WOULD CONSIDER A JOB IN:
White collar workers Blue collar workers
Entertainment 64% 61%
Tech 60% 54%
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Most Americans haven't boycotted in the past year.

For all the talk about the centrality of politics in modern consumerism, our survey research work has consistently found these issues remain secondary for the average consumer. Read more.

WHO'S BOYCOTTED FOR POLITICAL REASONS IN THE PAST YEAR
What do high-income earners think about your brand?
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Media brands polarize consumers.

Trump Hotels is the most polarizing brand in America, and CNN is number two. See the full list.

LARGEST GAPS IN NET FAVORABILITY BETWEEN DEMOCRATS & REPUBLICANS
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How did your brand perform in 2018?
Request a Brand Intelligence demo to see how your brand performed across key reputation and brand metrics. Brand Intelligence is the most comprehensive brand-tracking platform today, combining survey research data with social media, news, and economic data to guide every strategic decision your organization needs to make.
Request a Brand Intelligence demo to see how your brand performed across the key reputation and brand metric highlighted in this report.