IN October 2012 Toyota recalled 7.4 million cars due to an electric window fault. The recall had an immediate impact on perception of the brand, according to our surveys.
The YouGov Impression measure on BrandIndex dropped from the mid +20s to the mid-teens – a small yet significant fall in perception.
Knowing exactly which consumers switched their view from positive to negative would be key to informing Toyota’s response to the crisis.
PMARC, a new BrandIndex-complementary tool, has allowed me to explore this in detail.
By taking the people we know were positive about Toyota back in the summer and we know are now negative, and overlaying all the other data that we hold on them – profiling information, media consumption, car ownership – I can focus on the precise type of people that Toyota lost and need to win back.
DRIVING UP NEW CUSTOMERS
From this I have drawn a number of conclusions – current customers have remained positive, so it is only potential customers they need to worry about.
Those that have become negative have lost confidence in the brand’s reliability so regaining that perception of reliability is the key.
But the conclusion that I want to focus on is this: who are the people who have turned negative?
There is one clear story – they are people who interact with news – 90 per cent watch TV news and 59 per cent are broadsheet readers.
Toyota has suffered a news-based crisis.
I would advise responding with a media campaign targeting the news media in order to regain the lost perception.
This ability to target with ever greater precision is what the new world of connected data offers, and the winners of the future will be the companies who understand and harness this.
PREDICTING THE FUTURE
Speaking of winners, I must boast about a recent YouGov win – our InvestorView prediction of fourth quarter iPhone sales made three weeks before Apple’s announcement was within 0.05 per cent of actual sales, demonstrating that consumer insight can effectively be used to predict the future.
Stephan Shakespeare is the chief executive of YouGov