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These 9 Brands All Have Better Reputations Than Apple Right Now

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Market research firm YouGov BrandIndex has released its survey of the top brands of 2011, and found for the second straight year that Subway is the most beloved brand among consumers.

You just can't beat cheap sandwiches, it seems.

The survey is based on a continuous sampling of 2.5 million people online, within YouGov's database that nationally represents U.S. adults.

The survey produces a "Buzz score," based on consumers' response to questions such as, "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?"

The results are an amalgamation of those results taken from the entire period of 2011, and thus represent the strength of these brands based on consumer sentiment and "buzz" over the period.

Here are the 10 strongest brands in the U.S. right now, starting with the best:

#1 Subway

YouGov says: "Subway is the only dining brand to crack the BrandIndex Buzz Ranking Top 10. The sandwich giant ranks number one in our overall Buzz list for the second consecutive year."

#2 Amazon

"The launch of the Kindle Fire and an increase in marketing spend solidified Amazon's number two position," YouGov says.

#3 History Channel

This is History's third consecutive appearance in the top five brands of the year. It's not just World War II stuff any more: The channel added reality shows such as Pawn Stars and speculative documentaries about aliens.

#4 Google

Google edged up one spot from last year's survey due in part, perhaps, to its launch of Google+, its social networking site.

[See: Pictures of the Newest Tech Gadgets at the Consumer Electronic Show]

#5 Cheerios
General Mills introduced 'Cinnamon Burst Cheerios' last year, but the cereal is a perennial best brand in this survey.

#6 Lowe's

Lowe's buzz declined a little at the very end of 2011 due to a controversy over its refusal to sponsor the TLC reality show All-American Muslim.

#7 Ford

Ford is the top auto brand in the survey and its 2011 sales bounced back.

[See: Chrysler's Made-in-Italy Comeback: Author Clark]

#8 Discovery Channel

Shark Week -- still getting the job done for Discovery. This is the third consecutive year for the channel in the YouGov Top 10.

#9 Target

Target hurt itself in September when its launch of a Missoni collection crashed its web site. But people like the cheap and trendy retailer so much it kept its place in the top 10.

#10 Apple

Apple hasn't been in the top 10 for the last three years, but new iPad and iPhone models -- plus the death of Steve Jobs -- appear to have grown consumers' affection for the brand.

[See: Apple's New CEO Salary: 378 Million Times As Much As Steve Jobs]

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