The survey asked people to rate about 700 brands according to quality, reliability and distinction. Internet search facility Google came in first place. The Eden Project also triumphed over commercial rivals in the leisure and entertainment destinations sub-category, coming in third place. Tate Galleries, which has a charitable trust, came in at 46 on the main list and second in the leisure category.
Peter Stewart, campaigns and communications director at the Eden Project, said some of its activities over the past year had made "positive contributions to its image bank". These included a car show looking at only environmentally friendly cars, conferences on climate change and an entry in the People's Millions competition. The entry, which got to the final, was for a new building showcasing wind and solar-powered technology.
"We don't spend much on advertising, so we're often punching above our weight," said Stewart. He added that the Eden Project's communication team was made up of only four members of staff.
Stewart said the brand was recognised by people who had not visited the project because climate change was an issue at the forefront of people's minds. "It gripped people's imaginations quickly as a symbol of what ordinary people can do," he said.
Stephen Cheliotis, chief executive of the Centre for Brand Analysis, said charities were excluded from the list of brands the public could choose from, but social enterprises were not. Charity brands are rated in a separate survey, to be released later this year.
A panel of 26 people from business and marketing backgrounds compiled a shortlist of 1,350 brands by reading trade media. After scoring, the list was halved to 700 before YouGov asked the public to choose the top 500.
More than 10 million people have visited the Eden Project, which houses the two biggest greenhouses in the world, since it opened in 2001.
- Superbrands asked the public to rate brands shortlisted by marketing professionals according to "quality, reliability and distinction"
- The Eden Project came 50th of 500, up 180 places from last year's list
- Social enterprises were included in the shortlist. A similar survey of charity brands will be released later this year.