BrandIndex's weekly Brandweek Buzz Report: national jewelry chains, Apple iPad, and IHOP

Love Is in the Air for National Jewelers

Feb 12, 2010

Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest jewelry buying occasions of the year. Despite the recession, consumers continue to boost retailers like Jared, Tiffany & Co. and Zales, especially in the weeks leading up to the romantic holiday. According to market research firm YouGov's BrandIndex report, the buzz scores for jewelers have all been positive.

The Brandweek Buzz Report by YouGov is a weekly consumer perception report that analyzes the most talked about brands based on buzz: The scores are based on weighing positive and negative perceptions of a brand. A +100 score is positive, a -100 score is negative, and a rating of zero means that the score is neutral.

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.

This week, the report spotlights:

• National Jewelers
• Apple iPad

National Jewelers Feel the Love
After a post-holiday dip, national jewelers are regaining some traction in the public eye. Current sector leader, Jared, has been extra aggressive with its Web and broadcast ads, carrying the tagline: “It can only be Jared.” The brand has rebounded from a 7.9 buzz score on Jan. 29 to its present 12.8. Kay Jewelers, which is owned by Jared’s parent company Signet Jewelers Ltd., also made a post-holiday comeback, but lost some steam over the past few days, placing at 9.2. Tiffany & Co. had been strong and more resilient, but has trailed off in the past week to 7.7. Zales, which has seen sliding sales and deepening debt, has reportedly cut much of its Valentine’s Day advertising to preserve cash. Zales, however, has experienced a lift recently; its score rose from 4.9 on Feb. 3 to its current score of 6.9.

iPad Doesn't Live Up to Expectations
Apple’s iPad announcement on Jan. 27 seems to have left adults 18-34 unimpressed. The lack of features like a camera, and the device's name didn’t take long to ricochet around the Web via blogs such as Gizmodo (“8 Things That Suck About the iPad”) and Newsweek. The chart below shows buzz building for the iPad during January. But post-announcement, Apple’s buzz score fell significantly with younger consumers, dropping from 50.9 (the day after the official release) to 8.7 on Feb. 8. Only this past week the brand started showing initial signs of recovery.

IHOP Gets a Seasonal Boost

Seasonality can have a strong influence on consumer perception. During the summer, Dairy Queen’s buzz scores soar with the temperature, and in the wintertime, IHOP is one of the main beneficiaries. IHOP took the second biggest leap in buzz score of all brands in January. Boosted by this seasonal phenomenon, the restaurant chain also launched a national promotion, offering diners unlimited buttermilk pancakes starting at $4.99. The promo runs through Feb. 23, National Pancake Day, when the chain will offer free pancakes in hopes that patrons donate to the Children’s Miracle Network.