EBay, Google Brands Gain Ground; AOL Declines

The eBay and Google brands are gaining ground, American consumers feel, while America Online’s brand is sinking. So says the Euro RSCG Prosumer Pulse 2004 survey, conducted with Market Probe International.

Researchers came to their conclusions after interviewing 1,982 Americans in February 2004, asking them to rate around a third of 527 brands. To arrive at a net gain/loss number, the researchers took the percentage saying a brand had gained ground and subtracted the percentage saying it had lost ground.

Of the brands considered, the two most widely considered to have gained ground in recent years are eBay and Google. Seventy-five percent of those rating eBay thought it had gained popularity, while only 6 percent thought it had lost ground, giving it a net gain of 69 points. In Google’s case, 70 percent felt it had gained ground, while 5 percent thought it had lost ground, for a net gain of 65 points. Dell performed well, with 70 percent saying it had gained ground, and only 8 percent responding that it had lost ground, giving it a net gain of 62 points. Yahoo also made the top ten, scoring a net gain of 46 points.

“For marketers, it’s also important to note that the three brands with the highest momentum — eBay, Dell, and Google — built their brands largely without recourse to the normal arsenal of brand-building advertising,” said Marian Salzman, EVP and chief strategy officer, Euro RSCG Worldwide. “They’ve grown because they’ve each become an integral part of the new interactive medium, grabbing eyeballs themselves rather than shelling out media dollars to do so.”

Among the brands performing poorly was America Online, which saw a net loss of 13 points. Offline brands like Kmart (-54), Sega (-44), and Bridgestone/Firestone (-45) also did badly, along with the airlines. United Airlines (-28), American Airlines (-22) and Delta (-19) posted the worst numbers among carriers.

“Clearly, a number of the negative-momentum brands are falling short in the same areas that are making the ‘winners’ so compelling,” said Michael Kantrow, managing director of Euro RSCG Worldwide’s New York office. “To have any hope of changing consumers’ perceptions before it’s too late, these brands will have to confront a complex set of issues — most of which are tied to their business fundamentals rather than simply communications. Getting the new fundamentals right is how the new innovators in these spaces are building their brands.”

Integrated marketing communications agency Euro RSCG Worldwide is the largest unit of Havas.

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