BrandIndex's weekly Brandweek Buzz Report: AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Credit Card Co.'s, BlackBerry

BlackBerry Dials Up Consumer Satisfaction

Dec 11, 2009

While Motorola and Apple have been battling it out over the best smartphone, RIM has been quietly improving its BlackBerry devices. According to market research firm YouGov's BrandIndex report, BlackBerry's "satisfaction" scores have doubled since the summer to a year-to-date high.

The Brandweek Buzz Report by YouGov is a weekly consumer perception report that analyzes the most talked about brands based on buzz: If you've heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, was it positive or negative?; attention: Have you heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks?; and satisfaction: Are you a satisfied or dissatisfied customer of the brand?

YouGov interviews 5,000 people each weekday from a representative U.S. population sample. Respondents are drawn from an online panel of 1.5 million individuals. A score can range from 100 to -100 and is compiled by subtracting negative feedback from positive. A zero score means equal positive and negative feedback.

This week, the report spotlights:

• Verizon Wireless and AT&T
• Visa, MasterCard and American Express
• BlackBerry

AT&T, Verizon Get Attention
All eyes are on AT&T and Verizon Wireless as of late. The wireless carriers are in the midst of a battle, marked by blistering ad campaigns and lawsuits. Those ad dollars have fueled an increasing young adult mindshare for both brands, with Verizon Wireless' "attention" score beating AT&T the last week of November. On Nov. 2, 37.1% of all adults 18-34 had heard something about the Verizon Wireless brand, and on Dec. 7, that number was 62.2%. In early November, 41.2% of 18-34 adults had heard something about AT&T, and 54.5% in the past week.

Black Friday Buzz Fades for Credit Card Brands

Heading into Black Friday, the "buzz" scores of the three biggest credit cards were modestly improving. But since then, scores have declined. Early holiday spending reports indicate that consumers are purchasing less on credit, and are using cash instead. Visa’s buzz score went from 18.3 on Nov. 20 to 9.6 on Black Friday. While Visa has rebounded gradually since then, standing at a current 12.9, MasterCard and American Express have not fared as well. MasterCard dropped below American Express (5.1) just before Black Friday, settling at a 1.2.

BlackBerry Quietly Makes Improvements

While a very public campaign war between Motorola's Droid and Apple's iPhone continues to wage on through the holidays, RIM has quietly improved the customer experience of its BlackBerrys. In addition to doubling "satisfaction" scores, the smartphone brand has gained three more points since November. New product releases, such as the BlackBerry Storm 2 and the BlackBerry Bold 9700 have improved the user experience. Droid vs. iPhone marketing blitzes have affected some of BlackBerry's other consumer measures, though overall, the brand health scores remain within RIM's normal 2009 range.