Public Trusts Small Biz, Tech

May 12, 2010

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Brand Metrics | Data-driven | Financial Services | Media & Entertainment | Men

Americans have generally positive views on small business and technology companies, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center.

Tech Has Broad Appeal
Out of 13 institutions, only four were rated by more than half of survey respondents as having a positive effect on the way things are going in the country. Small businesses hold the greatest amount of consumer trust, with 71% of respondents saying they have a positive effect.

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Interestingly, technology companies, a category that includes some of the country’s largest and most powerful organizations, came in closely behind small businesses with 68% of respondents saying they have a positive effect. Pew data indicates that broken down further, results show that technology companies have broad-based appeal across different demographics.

While fully 80% of those under age 30 express positive views of the tech sector, the fans of technology firms are well distributed across the age spectrum including about two-thirds (66%) of those in the 50-64 age bracket and more than half (52%) of those ages 65 and older. Even among the elderly, non-positive evaluations of tech companies are about as likely to be a non-response (19%) as a negative rating (23%).

In addition, men are more likely than women to have warm feelings about the technology industry (73% vs. 63%). Education also plays some role in this evaluation: 75% of college grads and 70% of those with some college experience take a positive view compared with about six in ten of those with lesser education attainment. Greater affluence also appears to stimulate more favorable views — 82% of those with annual incomes of $100,000 or more give a thumbs-up to tech companies compared with numbers in the 60% range for lesser income categories. Among regions, only in the South do somewhat fewer (63%) see tech firms exerting a positive influence.

The only other institutions to be credited with having a positive effect by more than half of the public are churches and religious organizations (63%) and colleges and universities (61%).

Banks, Govt. Have Least Trust
Not surprisingly considering the ongoing economic crisis and continuing Wall Street financial scandals, banks and financial institutions had the lowest positive rating (22%) and highest negative rating (69%) of any institution on the list. Congress followed closely behind with a 24% positive rating, and the federal government and large corporations both trailed with 25% positive ratings.

Interestingly, the Obama Administration fared better than the federal government as a whole, with 45% positive and negative ratings. The national news media and federal agencies and departments both received 31% positive ratings.

Consumer Perception of Financial Institutions Improving
Banks and financial institutions can take some heart in that Americans are slowly improving their perception of the reputation-battered financial services industry, according to the Harris Interactive 2010 EquiTrend study. The data in the financial services category shows evidence of recovery in terms of consumer perceptions, according to Harris analysis. The average brand equity scores across all financial services brands are on their way back to 2008 levels, a result of increases in both quality and purchase consideration perceptions.

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