In Interbrand’s 2013 brand index, a benchmark measure of brand value, Apple came out on top, ending a 13 year run by Coca Cola. But the signs are that Samsung, which has been investing heavily in brand loyalty and not just marketing, is now challenging Apple in brand awareness and affection, as analysts look across a wider range of social media and psychometric levers.
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Samsung has been trying for the past three years to win the hearts of its users, to go with the loyalty that its relatively low prices inspire.
A “brand dependence” index revealed at CES last week suggests that more people are dependent on the Samsung brand than any other in consumer electronics. The index is the brainchild of UTA Brand Studio, a brand advisory firm.
The inaugural quarterly Brand Dependence™ index, focused on technology and consumer electronics, reveals that Microsoft and Samsung topped the list of technology brands that consumers say they can’t live without and relate more to themselves.
In fact Samsung, marginally, beat out Microsoft. The methodology probes feelings about a brand, notably how integral a brand is to a person’s life and how often and naturally a brand comes to mind.
On the upside for Apple, it scores higher for people with salaries of over $50,000. But separate studies show that both Samsung and Microsoft are taking the consumer brand battle to Apple and winning.
Forrester reported just before CES that Microsoft was the leading consumer brand in consumer tech according to their True brand compass research, with Apple inching ahead of Samsung in brand resonance but not in trust where they are level. The TRUE methodology claims to measure how trusted, remarkable, unmistakeable and essential (TRUE) brands are to consumers.
I pointed out at the time of the XBox launch that trust in Microsoft remained high despite its apparent mis-steps with digital rights management and Internet connectivity.
At the same time Samsung can be seen winning out in all forms of social media. As part of its brand strategy it has invested heavily in social engagement and that too is paying off. EConsultancy notes:
Samsung was named as the most shared brand of 2013 during Unruly’s inaugural Video Sharing Awards (VSAs) held at the end of 2013. Samsung achieved a total of 7.3m shares during last year. This is 2.3m more shares than second-placed GEICO and, according to Unruly, Samsung achieved a 201% increase on the previous year when it finished in eighth place.
The Unruly data is taken from Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms. Apple does not make the top ten but nor does any other consumer electronics brand. The top ten is made up largely of consumer brands like Dove, Evian, Cornetto, Pepsi, and Red Bull. EConsultancy rates Samsung as the best performing brand on Vine. If you are looking for a single reason why Samsung is gaining on Apple in brand affection then it lies here – in Samsung’s substantial investment in social engagement, an area Apple eschews.
Samsung has become more popular than products that people depend on for everyday functions like washing, eating and drinking. Already back in September 2013 Samsung was well ahead of Apple in sharing of video ads (by ration of 5:1).
Samsung has gone from number 19 on the Interbrand list in 2010 to 8th in 2013. It’s estimated brand value has risen during that time from just over $23 billion to $39.6 billion. Apples meanwhile has risen from $33 billion to over $98 billion.
In view of Samsung’s relentless rise as a social brand it is difficult to see the justification for the disparity between its brand value and that of Apple. Samsung outsells Apple in smartphones and is likely to surpass it in tablets soon. Is it time we reappraised peoples affections for the brand too?