Mobile Brands Suffer in Advocacy Index

T-Mobile is rated the number one brand online in the mobile sector, according to the latest Kaizo Advocacy Index published this week. The sector overall has performed badly, however, as, with the exception of Orange, all of the brands have experienced a decrease in online brand reputation.
The biannual Kaizo Advocacy Index measures the online reputation of 20 major brands across four sectors. Having previously topped the Winter 09 study, T-Mobile onced again claims the highest score in the mobile sector on 7%, followed by 3 (4%), Orange (1%). Vodafone  and O2 score 0% and 20% respectively.
T-Mobiles top rakning in the mobile sector is largely fuelled by its Lifes for Sharing campaign, which, notes Kaizo, demonstrates the value of using creative techniques to engage with consumers online. Whilst this has helped T-Mobile lead the sector for the second study in a row, the brand has seen a decrease in its score of 8% since the previous study, due in part to criticism over poor reception, particularly on Twitter.
Relying on big advertising campaigns to boost online reputation is not enough for brands, says
Kaizo Managing Director, Rhodri Harries. As people increasingly base decisions on the reviews and experiences of fellow consumers, if basic requirements such as customer service are not met then a brands reputation will decrease, no matter how much money is driven into promotion.
O2 suffered a huge 32% drop in its score since the last Kaizo Advocacy Index study was conducted in February, polarising opinion amongst consumers. Comments by disgruntled customers of poor signal coverage, overcharging and inadequate customer service is being played out in particular on Twitter, which, Kaizo says, suggests that O2 should be engaging more online with consumers.
Vodafone also experienced a significant drop in its score by 12% to 0%. Despite distinct signs of brand loyalty from sections of the online community, equal levels of criticism and passive mentions result in a neutral score.
3 Mobiles competitive pricing plans stimulated positive chat, but as with other mobile brands,  poor customer service generated negative comments, leading to a decrease of 4.3% from the previous study.
Orange has managed to hold its own in comparison with other brands in the sector and is the only mobile brand that has increased its score since the last study. Its association with music made it popular with summer festival-goers, and its environmental credentials have also been widely praised online. Negative customer opinion on overcharging, a common theme across the sector, blights the brands performance in the latest study.
Kaizo concludes by noting that the Summer Kaizo Advocacy Index clearly demonstrates that the amount of negative online brand chatter around issues such as pricing and service is increasing.
It adds that research from the London School of Economics shows that companies with above-average recommendability and below-average negative word of mouth, grow four to five times faster than other companies. Negative word of mouth is more powerful than positive word of mouth by a factor of three-and-a-half times.