Eurostar on rollercoaster ride as brand flags

Stephan Shakespeare
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STAR’S BrandIndex scores dropped dramatically when five trains broke down on 18 December 2009, leaving 2,500 people trapped in trains and over 100,000 stranded due to disrupted travel plans. Continuous press coverage only compounded the brand’s problems. Eurostar’s overall “Index” score plummeted from +22 on 16 December 2009 to -3 on 1 January 2010.

BrandIndex’s “Index” score aggregates various indicators of brand performance, including buzz, impression, quality, value, reputation and satisfaction.

There seemed to be some light at the end of the tunnel for Eurostar, however, as its “Index” score recovered to a moderate +9 by early February. The official inquiry report of 12 February changed this, as renewed reports of “appallingly” treated passengers brought the “Index” score back down towards zero. It seems that the economy is not the only thing that can be struck with the problem of a “double-dip”.

Meanwhile, the BrandIndex “Impression” score for the mobile phone company HTC has soared this month, giving hope of a successful release for the HTC Legend, HTC Desire, and HTC HD Mini. T-Mobile, Orange, Vodafone and O2 have announced that they will be stocking one or more of the handsets, which are due to be released to the UK market on 12 April, or they will be a SIM-free cost of £349.99-£399.99 each.

The phones will run Google’s Android software version 2.1, and analysts are predicting that these models could help HTC mount a credible challenge to Apple and BlackBerry’s domination of the smartphone market.

However, HTC has some way to go if it wants to compete with the big boys, given that its highest BrandIndex “Index” score during the past twelve months was +4, compared with +23 for BlackBerry and +24 for Apple’s iPhone.

Stephan Shakespeare is co-founder and co-chief executive of YouGov