Google, Las Vegas, Yahoo!, Target, and eBay were among the winning brands of last year, according to the 2006 ImagePower Newsmaker Brands Survey, conducted by Landor Associates, the branding and design consultancy, and research firm Penn Schoen & Berland Associates. The survey is conducted in December among a representative sample of the American population.

“With the multitude of brand choices available to consumers, this survey is an important indicator of consumer activity and its correlation to social behavior,” said Allen Adamson, managing director of Landor Associates’ New York office. “Companies that can provide a clear and consistent brand to consumers, as well as harmonize with social changes will find themselves in a promising position, as illustrated by top-ranking brands such as Google, Las Vegas, Target and iPod.”

Key trends identified by the survey results include:
• The top winning brands for 2006 and 2007 know no boundaries of age, race or income but provide affordability, personalization and a one-stop-shop experience for all consumers, serving as great equalizers in their respective categories.
• A large number the 2006 winning brands were also winners in the 2005 study (Google, Las Vegas, iPod), signaling the key to successful branding lies in a simple message, delivered consistently over an extended period of time in order to build loyalty and truly resonate with consumers.
• Celebrities who made the winners’ list (George Clooney, Oprah Winfrey) are more substantive and philanthropic in their actions than the ones perceived for the second year in a row to be losers (Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie).
• Social networking brands like, and were all ranked losers in 2006: a year when being able to create and distribute user generated content ruled—as exemplified by YouTube and Yahoo!

 “The rise of the Web 2.0 craze in 2006 has brought a renewed sense of optimism in the Internet and technology, as well as a quest to provide simplified access to non-traditional forms of communication, entertainment and lifestyle,” said Mitchell Markel, senior vice president of Penn Schoen & Berland. “This shift has even transcended the realm of the Internet to destinations like Las Vegas and retail stores like Target, where there truly is something for everyone. People want to have it all, but at a price tag personalized for them.”