Toyota is tops when it comes to positive brand advocacy among major automotive brands, according to Nielsen Online's new "Brand Advocacy Quotient" research. This quarterly measurement of consumer advocacy looks at online survey data and customer experiences shared through online buzz. Results, based on responses from more than 2,000 consumers, are indexed on a scale of -100 to 100.
Thanks to raves about its quality, size, style and dealer experience, Toyota achieved the highest rating of 69 followed by Honda (68), Lexus (68) and Acura (67).
Creating a positive brand image online has grown in importance because that's where most consumers go to research their purchase decision. "Before people buy a new vehicle they are looking to the Web and social media sites," said Julie A. Enzweiler, automotive research director, Nielsen Online.
"Auto marketers have to understand that the positive and negative comments people say will impact the sale. It can either pick up a brand up or weigh it down."
Despite Hyundai's new offerings and extensive advertising efforts, the brand's rating falls lower than many other automakers because of quality issues and poor dealership experiences among survey respondents. It scored a 46. Only Isuzu (39), Suzuki (41) and Jaguar (43) ranked lower.
Kia, meanwhile, found itself in the middle with a score of 52. Price and value drove its advocacy, which is common among lower priced brands, however quality concerns dragged down Kia's overall score.
For brands to be successful and gain advocates, Enzweiler said, "their brand pillars must resonate with consumers. If you want to be known for great quality vehicles, your top consumers need to perceive you that way. The BAQ is a snapshot in time for brands to see the lay of the land and adjust accordingly." -- Kenneth Hein