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Northern Rail and Maplin are the UK's most improved brands according to YouGov's research!

Highlighting that maybe any publicity is good publicity, YouGov’s latest BrandIndex Buzz Rankings, which analyses the brands uppermost in people’s minds, shows that the most improved brand is Northern Rail with a +8.0 point increase from 2018, regardless of a year of bad headlines.

BrandIndex Buzz Rankings: which brands have improved the most?

Similarly, Maplin saw a point increase to +5.7 after relaunching online, improving on a troubled 2018 where the brand entered administration. In fact, half of the top ten buzz improvers are brands that still have negative buzz rankings, despite a better 2019. Only Greggs, Netflix and Cadbury managed to build on positive buzz from 2018, with KFC and Poundworld just sneaking into positive territory.

Discussing how bad headlines help a brand become memorable, and not necessarily in a bad way, Amelia Brophy, head of UK data products at YouGov, says: “Our annual rankings not only reveal the most positively talked about brands, but the brands which have improved the most. This means that sometimes, as is the case this year with Northern Rail, the most improved brand still scores negatively. In this instance, Northern Rail takes first position due to the fact that its 2019 was an improvement on a disastrous 2018 when the new timetable was brought in, meaning that Northern Rail’s buzz scores increased by 8 points.”

BrandIndex Buzz Rankings: Netflix comes out on top

Overall, Netflix is top of the rankings, which is not surprising as 2019 was huge year for Netflix, with a host of Oscar-nominated, big-budget original film and TV series releases. Netflix, which first entered the rankings in 2016, saw an increase of +5.0 on last year: enough to dethrone five-time winner Aldi.

New entry, Greggs, saw the effects of its vegan sausage roll take itm straight into seventh place with a score of 11.0.


The 1,550 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 1st and December 31st, 2019. The Buzz Improvers chart ranks the brands with the highest increase in Buzz comparing scores in years 2018 and 2019, to be included in the Buzz Improvers list, the variance must be positive. Scores are representative of the general population.

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