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Punters look for quality when recommending brands

Stephan Shakespeare
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HOW important is buzz? To find out, we compared three sets of BrandIndex scores &ndash; &ldquo;buzz&rdquo;, &ldquo;quality&rdquo;, and &ldquo;recommend&rdquo; &ndash; for three leading Japanese car brands (Nissan, Toyota, Subaru). <br /><br />Graph one shows the scatter for buzz against recommend, Graph two for buzz against quality. There is virtually no correlation between these brands&rsquo; buzz and recommend scores (0.05), but strong correlation between their recommend and quality scores (0.75). <br /><br />This demonstrates clearly that quality drives &ldquo;recommend&rdquo; (the measure most often linked with purchasing behaviour) much more than buzz: when consumers are thinking about cars, it seems to be their build quality, not their gizmos, that underpins their enthusiasm for the Japanese brands. <br /><br />We get the same effect for German brands (Audi, BMW, Mercedes): the correlations here are 0.35 and 0.62 respectively. Again, it suggests that the underlying brand associations built up over many years has a much stronger effect on success than the short-term excitement generated by new stories.<br /><br />So what about all the buzz around the BNP&rsquo;s appearance on BBC&rsquo;s Question Time? The subject dominated the airwaves for the 24 hours around the event, registering as the number one theme among the Twitterati. <br /><br />YouGov conducted a before-and-after poll, and the result was a surprise: we saw no significant rise in support for the BNP &ndash; a one-per cent move was well within the margin of error &ndash; and we actually registered a slight decline in the proportion who thought positively about them. There was also a huge majority agreeing with the BBC&rsquo;s decision to have them on the programme, so a single short poll provided evidence that the BNP&rsquo;s big appearance made no difference and that people predicted that their appearance would make no difference.<br /><br />Stephan Shakespeare is co founder and chief innovation officer of YouGov.