2017 Buzz Rankings

2017 - Buzz Rankings: US Top Buzz Improvers

1 Chipotle
In early 2016, after dealing with multiple E.coli and norovirus outbreaks, Chipotle’s public image was unambiguously negative. Thanks to a new loyalty program, along with the decision to hand out millions of free burritos in hopes of winning back customer trust, consumer perception of the Mexican restaurant chain saw significant improvement. This turnaround gave Chipotle the top spot on YouGov BrandIndex's annual list of brands that experienced the highest increase in positive buzz when comparing 2016 with 2017.

In June 2016, television host and polarizing personality Nancy Grace announced that she would leave HLN later that October after spending over a decade on the network. Following her departure, in May 2017, the revamped network debuted a new logo, look, and tagline, "News that hits home," as it shifted its focus toward covering more regional news and local crime, leaving the international stories and political events for sibling network CNN. Thus far, the rebranding efforts and lineup changes seem to be paying off.

3 Volkswagen
Perception of the German automaker plunged in September 2015 after it got caught cheating on diesel-emissions tests. Throughout the following year, the negative headlines kept coming: Volkswagen reported record losses, shed thousands of jobs, and agreed to pay a $14.7 billion settlement for the scandal. Eventually, however, after admitting guilt and pledging to offer electric versions of its 300 cars and SUVs by 2030, the brand’s perception turned more positive.

4 Spectrum
What’s the power behind a name? Just ask Time Warner Cable. After the telecommunications company was acquired by Charter Communications in May 2016 and rebranded as Spectrum, consumer sentiment toward the cable, phone, and internet provider seems to have transitioned from bad to good.

5 Walmart
Walmart began 2016 on a low note by closing 269 stores, laying off thousands of employees, and posting a quarterly decline in sales. Consumer perception of the retail giant sank accordingly. Then, later that August, Walmart purchased the upstart Amazon rival Jet.com for approximately $3.3 billion in hopes of advancing its online presence. By late 2017, the brand reported a 50% increase in e-commerce sales, as its public image rose to new heights.

6 Hulu
Launched a decade ago, Hulu has done well to appeal to viewers in the cord-cutting age with highly acclaimed and award-winning original series, such as The Handmaid's Tale. The streaming service recently announced that it ended its 2017 fiscal year with more than 17 million total subscribers, up over 40% compared to 2016, and an on-demand library featuring over 75,000 TV episodes across 1,700 titles.

7 Lyft
More and more people continue to report hearing positive things about the ride-hailing app, which, in recent months, has released a handful of promotional videos starring the actors Jeff Bridges, Tilda Swinton, and Jordan Peele. Lyft, which now provides over 1 million rides per day, saw its highest consumer perception levels this past fall, when the company announced plans to expand into Toronto, its first international market, and secured substantial financing from Google's parent company, Alphabet.

8 Samsung
In September 2016, Samsung confirmed rumors that, due to a problem with the battery, its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone had the potential to explode and catch fire. The Korean manufacturer issued a recall before ultimately halting sales of the device completely, erasing billions from the company's market value. But in 2017, Samsung made a comeback, seeing record-breaking pre-orders for its Galaxy S8 while restoring consumer confidence, making it one of the rare brands to fully recover from a major global crisis.

9 Whole Foods
Health-conscious Whole Foods faced a setback in June 2015 when officials accused the upscale grocer of overcharging customers at various New York City locations. Two years later, however, Amazon bought Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, and a steady stream of ideas exploring what the new partnership might achieve has been generating largely favorable coverage for the supermarket chain ever since.

10 Bank of America
Like other major financial institutions still repairing their reputation since the 2008 crash and subsequent recession, Bank of America’s recovery has been gradual. In the summer of 2017, investor Warren Buffett bought 700 million shares of the bank's stock, making him its top shareholder. Since then, consumer perception of the brand has climbed into the positives after spending nearly a decade in the negatives.

Top Buzz Improvers
Top Buzz Improvers

The 1,600 brands in YouGov BrandIndex were ranked using the Buzz score which asks respondents, “If you've heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?” Scores are net scores, calculated by subtracting the percentage of negative responses from the percentage of positive responses for each brand. 

The Buzz Rankings chart shows the brands with the highest average Buzz scores between January and December 2017. The Buzz Improvers chart ranks the brands with the highest increase in Buzz comparing scores in years 2016 and 2017, to be included the year over year variance must be positive. Both scores are representative of the general population.

All Buzz scores listed have been rounded to a single decimal place, however, we have used additional precision to assign ranks.

All brands must be tracked for at least 6 months to be included in the rankings, and must have been tracked for at least 6 months in the prior year’s period (as well as being currently tracked) to appear in the movers tables.

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