The Top Brands of Every State

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Coke or Pepsi? McDonald’s or Burger King? Brands are all around us, everywhere you look. From the aisles of the grocery store to the billboards on the highway, there’s no escaping the influence of the iconic brands of big business. Every company competes for dominance in the public consciousness – visibility is the name of the game.

So which brands have been the most successful? Which are the most prominent and memorable? We at Direct Capital, a small business finance lender, analyzed Google trends (read more about methodology here) for over 200 of some of the most popular brands in the US.  Based on per-capita search popularity, we compiled maps to show the branded landscape of the nation: the #1, #2, and #3 favorite brands in every state. Take a look, and see which brands have prevailed in your state.


Number One: The Top Brand

top brand 1

The #1 top brand in each state reveals a constellation of some of the biggest companies in the nation, and in many cases, it’s precisely what you might expect. Distant Alaska, a hub of oil production, far and away prefers BP, while vacation destinations Florida and Hawaii prefer Disney and Hyatt. Michigan leans most favorably toward Ford, and Arkansas, the heartland of middle America, values Walmart as their top brand. With companies like Target coming out on top in Minnesota, and Pabst Blue Ribbon in Wisconsin, the #1 brands create a surprisingly accurate cultural map of our nation.


Runner-Up: The #2 Most Popular Brand

top brand 2

Digging deeper into our survey, the #2 favorite brand of each state offers a closer look at regional preferences. Alaska, home to more documentaries than you can count, favors the Discovery Channel, while Jack Daniels is one of the most liked brands in Tennessee. And it’s not just a stereotype: Starbucks is a favorite brand of Washingtonians. MTV is another top leader in countercultural California, whereas Jeep is on the mind of mountainous Colorado.


Third Place

top brand 3

By zooming in on the third most popular brand in each state, we’ve made some interesting discoveries. Nintendo makes its first appearance in our rankings – in Utah. After BP and the Discovery Channel, Alaska has now turned its attention to Bailey’s. Snacks and fast food become more prominent, with Tootsie, Doritos and Pringles cutting a swath through the midwest. And the south has set its sights on luxury: Avon, Gap, Coach and Gucci all make appearances in the region.

You might not realize just how many brands there are – or which ones have the most recognition in your home state. It’s a testament to how much effort is directed toward these simple images, and maintaining their positive image. For better or worse, these brands are woven into the fabric of our nation.

Google Trends Methodology

We compiled our list of top brands by state using keyword search popularity from Google Trends. The Google Trends tool provides data for the history and volume of Google searches performed for branded terms, as well as the popularity of a branded searches across different cities and states in the US.

The maps featured throughout this article were constructed by testing a base list of 200+ US brand names and their results in Google Trends. The states were assigned a ‘top’ brand for the brand that was most popular from our list in that region.

Is your business looking for finance? Direct Capital has been providing small businesses with financing solutions since 1993. With the recent acquisition by CIT we can now help you and your business with our new and improved loan program. Visit our website to learn more. 


Equipment Financing and Equipment Leasing Solutions from Directing Capital:


  1. I am significantly skeptical about the methodology based on these results, care to post how you made these maps?

  2. Why is there no commonality among any of the 50 different states? In all three maps, there are 50 states and 50 different brands. I don’t see how that’s possible.

  3. The results were generated based off of keyword search popularity from Google Trends. There are some overlaps (Chevy was searched as the 2nd and 3rd result in different states), but yes – most of them did come back with different results! We thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts with us.

  4. Maybe I’ve overlooked this but did no airlines make this list? Personally that’s one of my biggest googled subjects- flights. I am astonished that people googled Folgers coffee, Kleenex, Baileys, Hollister…seriously?!

Comments are closed.