Business Journals, a media solutions platform for companies strategically targeting business decision makers, recently announced its 2011 annual American Brand Excellence Awards, which recognize brands that best meet the needs of small- to mid-sized businesses (SMB) in the United States.

Based on the responses of over 2000 SMB owners and managers about the brands which best support their businesses and help them succeed, over 250 brands were rated, of which the top 25 won the honors for being easy to do business with, industry leaders, forward thinking, for growing companies,  ethical, growing in popularity and having a good price for what you get.  

In addition to the overall 25, the survey also ranked the top five players in six categories - viz., Technology, Travel, Telecommunications, Retail, Financial & Insurance Services, and Business Services.

Perhaps not surprisingly, among the respective category winners, Apple emerged as the Grand Award winner in terms of brand excellence. As the leader of the tablet category with the iPad, Apple is redefining how we work, said Godfrey Phillips, VP of Research for The Business Journals. Our study found that nine per cent of business owners currently use an iPad for business.

Apple with its ground-breaking iPad hogs the show, but several other brands too have proved their mettle in terms of the value that they provide to the SMB sector. Run this slideshow to view the brands that bagged No.1 position in the six categories and also a round-up of the top 5 in each.