As spring travel picks up, so does consumer perception of the brands that cater to this sector. According to market research firm YouGov
‘s BrandIndex report, Southwest Airlines, Shell Oil
are the winners in their respective industries when it comes to buzz, quality, satisfaction, value and consumer willingness to recommend the brands.
The Brandweek Buzz Report by YouGov is a weekly consumer perception report that analyzes the most talked about brands. The scores are based on weighing positive and negative perceptions of a brand. A +100 score is positive, a -100 score is negative, and a rating of zero means that the score is neutral.
YouGov interviews 5,000 people each weekday from a representative U.S. population sample. Respondents are drawn from an online panel of 1.5 million individuals. YouGov’s bubble charts (below) are snapshots of the consumer perception of entire sectors at once, with up to three score criteria at the same time.
The report spotlights:
• Domestic airlines
• Gasoline brands
• Auto parts makers
Three Domestic Airlines Get Thumbs Up
Southwest Airlines continues to clean up its scores, standing on its own in every consumer perception category. Along with JetBlue and Virgin America, the three brands clearly stand out in consumers’ minds. Although Virgin America is a newcomer, it’s already making inroads on the value front.
The remaining airlines score better on satisfaction than they do on value. And given how closely they are bunched, none seems to stick out from the pack. Heading into the summer travel season, these brands could use more creative marketing to differentiate themselves with consumers.
Shell Oil Stands Out from the Pack
During the height of the recession, gasoline brands were pounded when it comes to consumer perception scores. While another vilified sector—financial services—has yet to rebound the same way, reasonable prices, travel-ready consumers, and the savvy marketing of products and services have hoisted most gasoline brands back on solid footing. The “triple crown” winner is Shell Oil, with a quality score of 23.16, satisfaction score of 17.93 and recommend score of 16.29. Close behind are BP, Chevron and Exxon-Mobil—both of which have bounced back significantly since the beginning of 2009.
Sunoco and ConocoPhillips are barely in positive territory, with scores in the 4-6 range. Meanwhile, Arco and Gulf have equal positive and negative sentiment. Citgo, however, stands by itself, with negative scores across the board. Perhaps Citgo is still feeling the repercussions of being owned by PDV America, an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
Recession Benefits Auto Parts Makers
Auto parts chains grew in popularity over the past two years, as new vehicle sales took a hit and prompted owners to go the “do it yourself” route. AutoZone, which recently beat analysts’ estimates, drives ahead with value and satisfaction scores of 28. The company prides itself on servicing late model vehicles, while heavily marketing the value proposition of its Duralast, Duralast Gold, and Valucraft product lines. Also riding on the coattails of the economy is Advance Auto Parts, which has benefited from a strong e-commerce presence.
Pep Boys, Jiffy Lube and GM Goodwrench are bunched together with value and satisfaction scores in the 8 range, indicating no perception breakouts among the group. On the fence is AAMCO, which may have the catchy “Double horn honk” tagline, but has been the subject of a large number of franchise and consumer complaints.