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Sony trounces MSFT & Nintendo in brand trust survey [update 1]

Vladimir Cole

Forrester Research has published a new report that examines the trust that American households place in PC and consumer electronics (CE) brands, including the brands of Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony. The results may be surprising to gamers.

In Forrester's analysis, Sony's brand garnered the highest marks of the three companies (Sony also ranked 3rd out of 22 companies), earning an average grade of A plus. Of the companies surveyed, only Bose and Dell ranked higher than Sony overall. Meanwhile, Microsoft's brand ranked 20 out of 22 brands, dragged down by low brand trust. Nintendo's played 17 out of 22, pulled towards the bottom of the ranking by low brand potential and low brand adoption.

One figure from the report showed how the companies compared on the dimensions of brand potential and brand trust. In this figure, Sony and Nintendo were clustered together in the middle of the pack, with Sony enjoying higher trust and higher potential. Microsoft, however, was hovering near the origin, a clear outlier position indicating that the company will fight an uphill battle in trying to win consumers over to its CE and PC products.

A couple revealing quotes from the study:

  • "Microsoft faces big consumer defection risk." Approximately 5.4 million households "know they run Microsoft software but would be just as happy to leave it behind -- if they could."
  • "Sony's current customers are affluent, young, and more likely than the general population to stick with a brand they like."

Remember, though, that this survey is based on broad attitudes towards these companies' entire product lines. The applicability of these results to the gaming market is an open question (and perhaps unfair to the gaming brands that Sony and Microsoft have endeavored to build through the PlayStation and Xbox brands, respectively. Intuitively, however, the attitudes expressed in the survey feel close to the attitudes we see on this blog from commenters.

Microsoft tends to be afforded very little leeway or margin for error. The company hasn't got a ton of trust, at least amongst Internet communities that have for years now vilified the company for real or perceived exploitation of dominant marketshare in the PC software market. Additionally, Microsoft is also the newest of the big three console makers, so it's had less time than the other two to build trust within the gaming segment. We're all still trying to figure out the company's sophomore effort.

That said, perhaps the real insight to be gained from this study is Apple's standing on the brand trust scale. If Apple were to introduce a gaming handheld targeted at the mainstream and designed as well as the iPod, this study indicates that the company would be a strong competitor versus Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo.

[update 1: replaced the post image with a new image, added URL link to Forrester's report, reduced the size of the quotes in the two bullet points, revised language throughout.]

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