The KitchenAid brand was the top choice for consumers in the small kitchen appliance and major appliance categories in the recent Harris Poll EquiTrend study conducted by Harris Interactive.

The brand, best known for its assortment of tableware and kitchenware that includes dishwashers and refrigerators along with its popular stand mixer, finished ahead of a number of other high profile brands in both categories.

In the major appliance category, KitchenAid paced the field that included Kenmore, Whirlpool and GE. On the small appliances side, the brand topped Cuisinart and Black & Decker.

“Dominant brands in the household continue to have consumer share of mind,” said Jeni Lee Chapman, executive vice president of Brand and Communications Consulting at Harris Interactive. “As consumers continue to tighten their belts, brands like KitchenAid have their trust.”

In the world of retail, Target was selected as the top chain in the Value Retail Category with the gap between it and runner-up Walmart increasing.

Harris officials noted that in a segment of retail where retailers are attempting to drive business by combining cool brand names with reasonable prices, Target seems to be hitting the mark and building its brand equity.

“In difficult economic times, consumers look for value.” said Chapman. “Target is seen as a retailer with strong brand equity especially when compared to its competition. As consumers consolidate where they choose to spend their paychecks, those retailers with the highest brand equity are going to obtain greater share of that spending.”

Overall, consumer sentiment toward brands increased for the second straight year after falling in 2009. The Harris Poll EquiTrend study measures consumer brands within 46 different categories. Brand Equity ratings are driven by three factors: familiarity, quality and purchase consideration.

“As consumers continue to look for ways to reduce their budgets, having a brand that consumers trust and respect plays a large role in keeping consumers loyal,” said Chapman. “Consumers continue to be more selective about what they purchase, but those companies with high brand equity are able to avoid switching behaviors of those brands that lack brand equity.”