Apple brand retains appeal

05 September 2011

NEW YORK: Consumer perceptions of Apple as a brand are continuing to rise in the US, despite the recent decision of Steve Jobs to step down as the company's chief executive, new figures show.

YouGov, the research firm, surveyed 5,000 adults regarding their attitudes towards the electronics group, to assess the popular reaction to Jobs' replacement by Tim Cook as CEO.

Apple's attention score - namely, the percentage of the general public that had heard anything, positive or negative about a company through the media or word of mouth - stood at 44% on August 23rd, the day before Jobs' announcement.

Totals here climbed to 61% on August 25th, suggesting that while coverage of this event was extremely widespread, awareness remained somewhat limited among consumers.

Given the close association between Jobs as an individual and Apple as a brand, YouGov argued the assumption would have been that approval scores were likely to decline.

"Rather than drive brand perception scores down as one might expect ... its key measurement of brand health, rose several points," its study added. "The Apple brand in the US is proving bigger than Steve Jobs himself."

More specifically, the reputation ratings enjoyed by the manufacturer of the iPad and iPhone surged from around 45 points on August 24th to 55 points on August 26th.

Equally, Apple's overall index score, taking into account criteria like quality, value, satisfaction and willingness to recommend the brand, improved from a steady 41 points to almost 43 points.

Mike Abramsky, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, said: "Similar to the departure of Henry Ford, Walt Disney - unique creative forces whose companies carried on for years - Apple without Steve will go on."

Charles Golvin, an analyst at Forrester, reflected such an impression, asserting that Jobs' decision was of undeniable significance, but Apple's prospects, for the short term at least, were strong.

"The company is recognising it is stepping into the next phase," he said. "[It will have] no impact from a product strategy point of view for probably a couple of years. The next wave of products has already been designed."

Data sourced from Apple Inside, YouGov, Financial Times, BusinessWeek; additional content by Warc staff