Archive for September, 2010

BP/the Gulf of Mexico – who consumers hold responsible

September 9, 2010

The BP brand may have taken a battering in the world but people in Singapore at least will continue to buy its products it appears.

This is the initial finding of a dipstick research study that I’ve been doing on the brand over the last few months since the start of the Gulf of Mexico crisis.

It’s not like people don’t hold BP responsible or that sentiment towards the brand has not been damaged. It certainly has. However, despite 50% of people surveyed stating that their perception of the brand has been negatively impacted as a result of the crisis, only 13% say they would not continue to buy its products.

A staggering 45% said they would continue to buy BP products given an option, while a further 40% were undecided and said maybe.

Why is sentiment to the BP brand not as negative as it should be?

I think it’s because people don’t hold just the brand responsible for what happened in the Gulf of Mexico but also Government and themselves.

In another question in the same survey, I asked consumers to indicate which parties they thought should be held responsible for the Gulf event.

While 100% of people said BP, 68% of people also said regulatory authorities (due to the inadequacy of legislation put in place) while a further 27% implicated consumers in the mess as well – the reason – the realization that our relentless demand for cheap oil may be what is encouraging companies like BP to drill deeper and engage in exploration techniques of a questionable nature.

In the Gulf of Mexico crisis, clearly multiple parties are to blame – BP, Government legislative bodies and consumers themselves. What is interesting to note however is the increasing responsibility consumers are taking on when it comes to the environment and the pressure they are putting on Government as well in matters of this regard.


So did the Australian Labour party win or lose?

September 7, 2010

A few weeks ago I wrote an article indicating that the Australian Labour Party had lost the election. Today they were given the mandate to form the government given the support they received from two independents.

The key question is – did they win or lose? From a brand perspective, the answer can be found in the results of this poll run by the Sydney Morning Herald today. the question – did the Independents make the right decision? Yes – 36%. No – 64%.

In my mind the issue has never been more clear. Labour lost, and they did because of the way they treated their colleagues. In a way that was inconsistent and that went against the grain of their audience in every way conceivable.

To reference the previous article on this topic please see my post titled ‘why labour lost’ – below.

Apple’s big issue with the iPhone

September 4, 2010

It isn’t antennagate, but the popularity or  ‘mass adoption’ that the brand has enjoyed over the last few years combined with a growing perception that the experience it provides is not as unique it once was.

Today it isn’t very hard for anyone to get an Apple iPhone. In Singapore, You could even get the 3G model for $0 on a plan.

Therein lies a key problem with the brand. It’s become so mass, so popular – so easy to access – it is starting to lose appeal and desirability.

In Singapore, I see a lot of people not going for Apple but opting for less popular brands such as HTC, Motorola or even some of the more innovative Samsung brands like Beam or Galaxy.

Bored with the iPhone experience, their motivation for doing so seems to be the desire to have a ‘less common’ phone – a phone that not everybody has.’

Brands are riding on this.

In the US, for example, sales of the Motorola Droid are robust. A look at first 74 day sales (a key metric to assess the success of a phone), shows that the Motorola Droid has actually done better than the original iPhone selling 1.05 million units versus 1 million units.(

But Apple’s problems don’t stop here. They have been exacerbated by the increasing importance the OS (operating system) is perceived to play in the performance of a phone.

Symbian from Nokia is still the most widely used OS according to data released by Gartner in August 2010, but Android is clearly the new kid on the block – surpassing Apple this year with a share of 17.2% v/s Apple’s 14.2%.

Apple is under attack and is starting to look less desirable than it once did. Key reasons are the easy access an ever widening range of customers have to its products combined with the fact that the experience it once provided is  no longer perceived to be unique given the rise of competitive platforms like Android that are seen to be equally good.

To continue to be successful the brand must address the issues it faces in both areas moving forward.