Champion Brand

The Champion Brand Index is a first-of-its-kind global opinion survey. In 2014 we surveyed more than 35,000 people in 14 global economies conducted by Darden and APCO. It measures nearly 500 of the world's public and private companies against four key dimensions that define a Champion Brand: Alignment, Authenticity, Attachment and Advocacy.

The 2014 Champion Brand Index survey was conducted between December 2013 and January 2014.

Methodology Global Map

North America


Latin America



United Kingdom2,942


Hong Kong1,262

The total sample size for the survey is 36,551. Of these, 7,817 Stakebrokers were sampled who were included in the second part of the survey that asked questions about specific companies.

The countries were selected to ensure adequate representation across major OECD nations across key regions. Together, the countries included in the survey account for the majority of global economic output.

Who was surveyed?

The survey was divided into two parts: the first section included general questions about attitudes and engagement behaviors as it relates to companies generally. The second part of the survey asked respondents to answer questions about specific companies.

The first part of the survey was asked among a random sample of the general public (all adults 18 years of age or older) in each country. The second part of the survey was asked among a screened subset of the general public sample we call "Stakebrokers." The stakebroker segmentation model is based on advanced statistical analysis conducted in the Champion Brand survey and revealed a unique segment of the general public. What makes these people unique is in the way they interact with companies. The k-cluster segmentation analysis of the survey data uncovered that there are TWO distinct groups in the population based on 75 variables. The stakebroker audience is what emerged based on the analysis: highly influential members of the general public who are more likely to engage with companies and corporate brands.

What questions did the survey ask?

The survey questionnaire is divided into two major parts. The first part is asked of all respondents (representing the general public in each country). This section of the questionnaire includes questions about incidence and frequency of information seeking, engagement and other behaviors associated with interactions with companies. It also includes questions about various attitudes related to companies generally, and provided the basis for identifying the stakebroker audience segment and thereby determining eligibility to complete the second part of the survey.

The second part of the survey focused on measuring perceptions of individual companies applying the Champion Brand Model. All respondents also answered a series of behavioral, demographic and psychographic questions in order to classify respondents and to facilitate weighting that ensured the data were representative of population characteristics.

What is the “margin of error” for the survey?

The margin of sampling error for questions based on the full sample (both stakebrokers and non-stakebrokers) that describe the larger social trends, such as the percentage of people who agree that global companies have a bigger impact on my life than government, the margin of error is ±.51%

The average confidence level for the Champion Brand Index is ±0.88. This means that if one company has a Champion Brand Index of 65.3 and another company has a Champion Brand Index that is below 64.2 or above 66.2 (CBI ±0.88), we can be confident (at the 95 percent confidence level) that there is a statistically significant difference between the companies' scores. For the "A Scores," the following average margin of sampling error: Alignment: ±0.06; Authenticity: ±0.08; Attachment: ±0.08; Advocacy: ±0.18.

How was the survey administered?

The survey was administered online to random samples of panelists from a global general public panel. Respondents were sampled using an algorithm to ensure demographic and regional representation within each country. The survey instrument was interactive and engaging.

Is the survey representative and how was the data weighed?

The data were also standardized to reflect well-known and systematic cross-cultural variation in the use of response scales. Cultural factors can lead to response biases where respondents in some countries select either extreme or modest answers, or fail to use the entire range of the scale.

For instance, respondents in some cultures (especially Latin America) tend to only use the very high end of a 0-10 scale. Research has shown that this is due to how individuals in certain cultures use and interpret scales, rather than a "true" assessment of the underlying variable. Put more simply, a person in Mexico who gives a favorability score of 8 on a scale of 0-10 most likely does not share the same opinion as someone in the United States who also gives a score of 8. To make the answers between these two hypothetical respondents comparable, we need to take into account different cultural understanding of what an 8 on a scale of 0-10 actually means.

"The principal aim of standardization is a reduction or elimination of unwanted cross-cultural differences that are not due to variables of interest, but rather response sets and methodological artifacts." (Van de Vijver, F., & Leung, K. (1997). Methods and data analysis of comparative research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.)

We applied a common cross-national standardization technique that adjusts the data based on the grand means and standard deviations of ratings within countries. The standardization of the data allows us to make more realistic comparisons of data between regions and countries, while also ensuring that grading biases do not affect the global ratings of individual companies. This method of adjusting or "centering" the data along means and standard deviations helps to ensure that the answer between our two hypothetical respondents in Mexico and the United States are practically comparable.

How many companies were included?

491 companies were included in this survey.

How was the list of companies developed?

Our goal was to include the world's largest companies – both public and private. We started with the Forbes Global 2000 List of the 2,000 largest public companies, chosen because it takes into account multiple factors to rank the size of the company (sales, profits, assets and market value). We supplemented this list with the Forbes list of the largest private companies.

The criteria for selection was as follows, in priority order:

  1. The top 250 companies from the Forbes Global 2000 List;
  2. At least the top 10 companies in each industry.
  3. The top 50 private companies as identified PrivCo.

Any companies that operate only regionally within a given country (such as regionally based utility companies) were removed from consideration. Also, any companies that did not have substantial operations in at least one survey country were removed.