Microsoft tops brand power charts

23 December 2010

LONDON: Microsoft, Tesco and Google are among the brands UK consumers believe to be the most "powerful", a survey has found.

Research group Decision Technology asked 1,553 adults in the country to provide their opinions about 124 well-known companies and organisations.

Online retailer Amazon was regarded as the most "honest" brand, a position it held in an equivalent study conducted last year.

Help for Heroes, a charity supporting servicemen, and fellow not-for-profit Cancer Research occupied second and third respectively, ahead of the National Health Service and Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

Search giant Google dropped to sixth, having placed second in 2009.

The BBC, the UK state broadcaster, slipped from fourth to seventh, while high-street chemists Boots tumbled five spots to eighth.

Retailer Marks & Spencer was ninth and the Post Office was tenth.

Tech brands dominated the charts concerning the firms thought to be leading innovators, with Amazon, Google, Apple, eBay and Facebook featuring in this selection.

Participants cited Microsoft, YouTube, Sony and Twitter as other pioneers in the same area, having all assumed such a standing during 2009.

Automaker Mercedes-Benz carried the greatest level of prestige, a category also housing its rivals BMW and Audi.

Retailers John Lewis and Waitrose were joined by Marks & Spencer as aspirational brands, while Sony and Apple represented the electronics industry.

By contrast, social networks Facebook and Twitter constituted two of the worst performers on this measure, joining discount supermarkets Aldi and Lidl fast-food chain McDonald's and airline Ryanair.

Microsoft was named as the most "powerful" member of the list, beating supermarket chain Tesco, the NHS, Google and soft drinks manufacturer Coca-Cola.

Amazon the BBC and McDonald's assumed a similar status, but Topshop, Gap, the Body Shop and Tesco Mobile came in at the lower end of the spectrum.

Turning to the operators perceived as boasting strong green values, the RSPB, Body Shop, Oxfam and Unicef led the way.

Furniture retailer Ikea, Waitrose, Marks & Spencer and Facebook were also praised for displaying eco-friendly credentials.

Dr Rich Lewis, a director at Decision Technology, suggested popular associations are difficult to alter, whatever their accuracy.

"Brand personalities seem hard to change once established in people's minds," he said.

An exception is where negative news and commentary is spread between consumers.

This has impacted the Liberal Democrats, as the party performed badly on almost of the metrics monitored having formed a coalition government with the Conservatives earlier this year.

FIFA, football's governing body and the subject of corruption allegations about choosing which nation should host the World Cup, experienced a similar trend.

"Broken promises and bad press do cause people to re-evaluate their opinions," Lewis concluded.

Data sourced from Decision Technology; additional content by Warc staff