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Supermarkets, cereals and computer manufacturers ahead in latest Kaizo Advocacy Index

Waitrose remains on top while T-Mobile and Orange’s merger reflected in online reputation

New research released today reveals major disparities in the online reputation of UK household brands. The Kaizo Advocacy Index, a bi-annual audit of online reputation, has analysed digital news and social media outlets to rank UK household names including supermarkets, mobile operators, airlines, breakfast cereals and computer manufacturers[i].

Waitrose (48%) remains the highest scoring brand, followed by Weetabix (37%), Lenovo (32%) and Virgin Atlantic (31%). Airlines and mobiles performed the worst, with Ryanair (-51%) last followed by BA (-20%), BMI (-16%), Orange (-11%) and T-Mobile (-11%).

Rhodri Harries, managing director, Kaizo, commented: “Waitrose continued to perform well thanks to news of growth and new jobs, by dealing with issues swiftly, and by introducing ways for customers to engage online, for instance its Christmas Facebook app featuring Heston Blumenthal”.

“Virgin’s bounce back is proof that a strong creative can cut through in social media as well as above the line. While the cereal brands scores showed that amid doom and gloom a little creative thinking can go a long way in spreading the word, with Sainsbury’s Valentine’s Day heart shaped cucumber and Kellogg’s branding individual Corn Flakes good examples of this.”

Jon Harding, General Manager, International and Distribution at Virgin Atlantic remarked, “Virgin Atlantic is delighted once again to be the number one airline brand according to the Kaizo Advocacy Index. Kaizo’s index is an important barometer of brand and reputational strength and these results are a credit to the airline, its staff and its customers”.

Waitrose continues to lead the supermarkets whilst Tesco falters as fears are raised over market monopoly

Waitrose won the hotly fought battle for Christmas sales according to lots of reports which, together with news that 3,000 jobs will be created through new store openings in 2011 and its first ever Facebook app featuring celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal, helped the brand retain first place. In February, Waitrose managed to avoid a potential PR disaster after shocking video footage came to light showing one of its duck suppliers treating animals cruelly. Taking all the right steps, Waitrose was quick to suspend all ties with the supplier, thus neutralising the majority of stories.

Consumers concerned about Tesco’s market monopolisation are airing their views on blogs and forums as the brand continues to move into new industries, including spa treatments and car dealerships., which has been set up to educate and raise public awareness on the ‘market-distorting power of the major supermarkets’, is one of the first results shown up in a Google search for Tesco.

For Sainsbury’s a Valentine’s Day cucumber in the shape of a heart provided a light hearted story.

Scores: Waitrose (48%), Sainsbury’s (28%), Morrisons (23%) and Asda (11%), Tesco (-8%).

Launches and exclusivity raise the bar for mobiles while T-Mobile and Orange are plagued with customer service issues

Innovative product launches and exclusive deals were the main source of positive comments in a sector littered with technical information. For sector winner Vodafone, its launch of Webbox, an affordable device that brings the internet to consumers’ existing television sets, coupled with an exclusive launch deal with the Samsung Galaxy Tablet, helped steer conversations away from widely reported accusations of tax dodging.

Meanwhile T Mobile’s score fell from the last report and the brand is now languishing at the bottom of the sector alongside Orange, with whom it recently merged. With customer complaints about poor service, and a number of these blaming the merger, both brands need to address this issue.

Scores: Vodafone (7%), O2 (5%), 3 Mobile (5%), Orange (-11%) and T Mobile (-11%).

Virgin Atlantic flies ahead with a glamorous new image whilst British Airways’ online reputation nose-dives

Virgin Atlantic took the lead once again in a sector mired by delays, strike threats and customer service issues. Having seen its score decline recently, the airline has returned to form thanks to its advertising campaign, ‘You’re airline’s either got it or it hasn’t’. With a dedicated social media team providing videos that are easy to share and promotional spin offs, the airline has generated lots of positive buzz across blogs, Facebook and Twitter.

News that British Airways is still embroiled in disputes with unions and that further strikes may be set for the Easter break have been greeted with dismay. The ease and speed in which frustrated customers can vent online and spread gloomy news means the airline needs to be careful that its image is not damaged for good.

Elsewhere, anger over ‘hidden costs’ continues to rumble for Ryanair. The forced removal of 100 protesting Belgian students from a flight did nothing to help the airline, which seems entrenched at the bottom of the sector.

Scores: Virgin Atlantic (31%), easyJet (4%), BMI (-16%), British Airways (-20%), Ryanair (-51%).

Talking pets and knitting grandmas energise healthy cereal brands

Cereal brands scored highly, with entertaining advertising campaigns helping to create buzz online. Positive chatter about a comical ad featuring talking pets for Chocolate Weetabix helped the brand lead the sector. Elsewhere, an integrated campaign for Shreddies’ Knitting Nanas, which involved recruiting a real life grandma, helped to lift the lowest scoring brand in the sector.

Kellogg’s hi-tech method of branding individual Corn Flakes with the company logo was a popular story, showing the power of bringing to life an innovative, creative idea.

A breakfast cereal that is nutritional and provides the morning’s energy is an important factor for consumers, according to their comments online. Weetabix in particular was championed on social networks for providing the energy for the day ahead. Meanwhile, Shredded Wheat’s fundraising activities with organisations such as the British Heart Foundation helped promote its healthy image.

Scores: Weetabix (31%), Kellogg’s Corn Flakes (29%), Shredded Wheat (26%), Special K (16%) and Shreddies (13%).

PC brands ride the wave of tablet enthusiasm

In a high scoring and closely fought sector, tablet launches generated positive news, reviews and chatter on media sites, blogs and forums. Lenovo’s latest Thinkpad was described as ‘evolutionary’, whilst Dell and Acer both benefited from the launch of Android’s Honeycomb 3.0 operating system.

In the new sector of tablet PCs, people are listening to the advice and experience of others when choosing which tablet to invest in. Whilst good product news and reviews go a long way to help purchasing decisions, it is those brands that are talked about positively by other consumers that will see their bottom line grow.

Scores: Lenovo (32%), HP (27%), Acer (26%), Dell (23%) and Asus (20%).


[i] For further information on methodology and full results visit

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