ZDNet covers BrandIndex's BlackBerry value perception research

Perceived value of BlackBerry brand drops among adults 18-34, rises for age 35-49; Tour 9630 to blame

RIM’s BlackBerry family of mobile devices has undergone dramatic consumer perception shifts in the past two weeks, according to market research agency YouGov’s BrandIndex.

Since mid-July, BlackBerry’s value perception of adults aged 18 to 34 has tanked, while simultaneously rising among adults aged 35 to 49.

The results coincide with the introduction of the popular BlackBerry Tour 9630 smartphone.

The question asked of people polled was, “Does it give good value for what you pay?”

Specifically, value perception among adults aged 18 to 34 dropped from a peak value score of 21.5 on July 7th to a score of 7.9 on August 4th, according to the figures.

Meanwhile, value perception among adults aged 35 to 39 rose from a low value score of 7.5 on July 21st to a score of 18 on August 14th.

Why the change? Ted Marzilli, global managing director of YouGov’s BrandIndex, looked at historical data and offered his thoughts:

“Pricing does matter. When carriers run promotions, we do see reaction, particularly among the younger age bracket. Younger people are more in tune with what’s coming out and price. With BlackBerry, Verizon lowered the price of Blackberrys to $99 [in late July], except for the Tour.

For 35 to 49 year-olds, for the value to go up, perhaps the new Tour was perceived as more valuable. The Tour could be charged to an expense account, and the new features drive up the price.

For the younger bracket, the Tour wasn’t necessarily targeted to them, so perhaps they perceive the introduction of the Tour as a mark against the brand. A negative halo effect, if you want to describe it as that.”

Marzilli noted that there was a big surge in BlackBerry perceived value in January through March 2009.That coincides perfectly with Verizon’s “Buy One, Get One” promotion for the BlackBerry Storm, Curve, Global and Pearl phones.

“BlackBerry had a pretty good run in February and March and settled after that,” Marzilli said. “Carriers, with bigger marketing spends, sometimes have a bigger impact than the manufacturers themselves.”

YouGov’s BrandIndex interviews 5,000 people each weekday from a representative U.S. population sample drawn from an online panel of more than 1 million individuals about their perception of the attention, buzz, quality, value, satisfaction, recommendation, reputation and impression of brands to estimate the overall health of a brand. Margin of error for the survey is +/- 2 percent.