YouGov has released its annual BrandIndex league table for 2011, which measures the quality, value, customer satisfaction and reputation of brands according to input from 2,000 UK consumers.

Google, Amazon and Marks & Spencer remain at the top for the second year running.

YouGov says that this year’s results show the importance of perception, and how long it takes to cultivate a positive image is highlighted by the fact that the 20 most highly-rated brands in 2011 contain only one new entrant, with the top six being the same as 2010.

Dove is the only new addition to the top 20, appearing at the expense of mobile phone operator Nokia. Though it’s worth noting that Nokia was still the highest placed in the mobile/PDA category. Dove‘s ongoing ‘real beauty’ campaign, which maximises social media, has clearly struck a chord with consumers.

Though British Airways (BA), Android and HTC aren’t exactly unknown, this could purely be a reflection of the fact that it’s easier to be memorable when pitching an exciting, innovative new product than maintaining interest in an age-old brand.

But then again, where does BA – founded in 1974  - fit into that theory?

Alongside retail brands, FMCG brands are the most common in the top 20, accounting for seven entries – three of which are confectionary brands; Cadbury, Thorntons and Maltesers. 

The BrandIndex measures the qualities as mentioned above, alongside ‘general impression’, and likelihood of consumers to recommend the brand. The average score across these six attributes is taken to create a single composite figure called the Index score.

YouGov’s associate director for BrandIndex Sarah Murphy said that it’s been a tough year for leading brands.

Very few have managed to improve their perceptions in consumers’ eyes. However, many outside the leaders have certainly bucked that trend, most notably British Airways, Android and HTC who achieved the highest increase in consumer ratings from 2010 to 2011.”