May 222009
 

Advertising Age is claiming that “Microsoft (is) Winning in Value Perception”, citing a BrandIndex daily survey of 5,000 people asked “whether they believe they get a get good value for their money” as related to Microsoft and Apple offerings.  The survey, which according to the BrandIndex chart included with the article, rates value on a scale from -100 to 100 and has run since the beginning of 2009.  Apple’s score of 70 in “late winter” (actually more like March 1 to my eye) is now languishing at 12.4, while Microsoft’s score has soared from 0 to 46.  Wow!  Because this is Advertising Age, and not Margin of Error Quarterly, the explanation must be the “Bargain Hunter” ad campaign.

Mmmk.  Couple of questions for the folks at BrandIndex:

-You survey 5,000 people every day about perceived value?  The same 5,000 people?  Because your findings really wouldn’t as mean much if the exact same 5,000 people weren’t asked every day the survey was conducted.

-“Value” is one metric you track, according to your chart.  I also see Mindshare, Buzz, Impression, Quality, Reputation and Satisfaction listed as metrics.  You’re sure “value” means the same thing to all those 5,000 people (and I’m sure it is the same 5,000 that are asked about quality, right?)?  I could easily see that those surveyed would equate “value” with “cheap”, given that “value” and “quality” have overlapping definitions.  Did Apple’s “quality” perception go up and M$’s go down?

As far as I’m concerned, the worst case scenario represented by this survey is that more people regard Microsoft as less expensive as a result of the “Bargain Hunters” campaign.  As we’ve known for a while, the margins on “less expensive” are pretty shitty.

Update: I received an email from a gentleman at BrandIndex last night who explained that the “value” and “quality” metrics are polled individually and that they feel “it is better to ask our questions from independent samples”, which I take to mean they ask only one question each day of their 5,000 respondents.   Also, they are not the same 5,000 people “(b)ecause (the sample) is representative, we do not have to interview the same 5,000 people each day”.  Maybe that is the only feasible way to conduct the survey, but I would contend that getting responses from different people may just as easily reflect different existing opinions they have about the brand, not the fact that their opinion about the brand had changed.

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