Apple has been voted brand of the year for 2001 by global subscribers to a leading consumer Web site.

A survey of its visitors carried out by led to Apple clinching 14 per cent of votes, enough to take top spot. is a branding information-exchange service.

The survey was designed to measure the success of branding strategies, and asked voters to elect the brand that had the most impact on their lives in 2001.

A statement by read: "Apple’s consistent attention to innovation can be seen in the dizzying release of such products as the new iMac, OS X, and the iPod.

"Brand of the Year is not necessarily the biggest brand or the one with the most revenue, but the one that makes us stand up and take notice."

One reader summed up Apple's winning formula: "Apple is creative, keeps surprising the consumer, has superior product and differentiates to the max."

Runner-up to Apple was Volkswagen, with telecoms company Nokia placed third. Then came the search engine Google, Absolut, the vokda maker, and Starbucks, the coffee-shop chain.