Brand Advocacy Rankings: Who’s Doing Best?

December 4, 2013

This article is included in these additional categories:

Automotive | Financial Services | Food & Restaurants | Telecom | Top Brands | Word of Mouth

BCG-Brand-Advocacy-Rankings-Dec2013Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has introduced a new metric analyzing word-of-mouth, the “Brand Advocacy Index” (BAI), noting that its research shows that among the sample of brands studied, the average difference between the top-line growth of the highest- and lowest-scoring brands was 27% points. So who’s scoring highly on this metric? Selecting 5 key industries across 5 Western markets, BCG indicates that the industries with the highest average BAI are non-luxury automobiles (50%) and smartphones (46%), with grocery (24%), mobile telecommunications (20%) and retail banking (10%) significantly behind. Each industry features a couple of standout brands.

Notably, within the smartphone category, the iPhone (54%) scores highest in the US, beating out rival Samsung (43%) and with a sizable margin over Motorola (38%). (A recent word-of-mouth study from ForeSee also put Apple in good standing.)

In fact, the iPhone also bests Samsung in the UK and France, but falls narrowly behind it in Germany. (The sample size was too small to include these particular results in Spain.)

There was less consensus when it came to non-luxury automobiles. In the US, Kia, Honda, and Hyundai each shared the top spot (63%) but failed to appear in the top 3 for any of the other countries. Instead, Volkswagen appears to have the best word-of-mouth outside the US, topping the charts in France (65%), the UK (60%), and Spain (58%), while finishing second behind Skoda (63%) in Germany.

The results are based on a survey of more than 32,000 consumers in those 5 countries.

BCG says the word-of-mouth metric is important, considering separate research showing that two-thirds of consumers consult friends and family before purchasing, and half consult consumer opinions online. Recent research from Nielsen has similarly shown that consumers around the world are more likely to trust – and act on – recommendations than any form of advertising or promotion.

Further results from the BCG study are also intriguing. For example, almost half of respondents had strong enough feelings about a brand to either recommend or criticize it. Recommendations tended to skew towards industries where consumers have more emotional attachments (such as smartphones), while consumers were more apt to criticize brands in service industries (such as retail banking). Finally, the authors note that criticism hurts a brand much more than praise can help it.

The full methodology for how BCG arrives at its BAI rankings can be accessed here.

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