CISCO Most Advocated IT Brand According to GfK NOP Study - Reveals Attitudes and Opinions of Key IT Decision Makers

New York, September 8, 2005—GfK NOP Technology announced today the results of the first study in its new Business-to-Business Advocacy MultiplierTM series. This study focuses on the IT sector. The findings showed Cisco Systems was the most advocated brand among five IT companies studied with 37% of respondents considered "Active Brand Advocates" while Dell was a close second with 33%. Hewlett-Packard and IBM ranked third with each brand seeing 27% of respondents as Active Brand Advocates. Microsoft had the highest percentage of "Indifferent" customers at 26% as well as the lowest number of Active Brand Advocates at 16%.

"Active advocates are the drivers of word-of-mouth—a necessary and powerful element that can make or break a brand. This group is particularly important because it has a better impression of the company and is not afraid to say it, while fulfilled and indifferent customers rarely have anything nice to say and dwell on disappointments," explains Richard March, Senior Vice President, Research Group Director of GfK NOP Technology. "Word-of-mouth has become an essential component in marketing today as our study results show. It is dramatically more important and trusted when compared to traditional forms of advertising and communication. And, word-of-mouth is mentioned second only to the vendors' website as a vital source of information in nearly all cases."

Identifying the attitudes and opinions of over 500 IT decision makers at small, midsize, and large companies, the study asked respondents what they are communicating to others, both positive and negative, about the brands. Participants also were asked to rate their overall impression of the brands, give the reasons behind their evaluation, and describe actions taken by the companies that may have satisfied or disappointed them.

Based on their responses regarding each brand, as well as their perspective of the brand's technology advancements, ability to anticipate needs, and ease of doing business, participants were divided into four groups by level of advocacy:

  • "Indifferent" Customers—a group that identifies itself as being passive, and having non-engaged attitudes toward the brand, and are less likely to consider the supplier for their next IT purchase decision.
  • "Fulfilled" Customers—a customer segment with a fairly shallow relationship and engagement with the supplier, but who are relatively well disposed toward the brand and may consider it the next time a purchase decision is made.
  • "Committed" Customers—a group with stronger, more long-term supplier kinship, and a positive attitude towards the brand compared to others.
  • "Active Brand Advocates"—a segment with both the strongest personal involvement and the most important and invested group regarding positive word-of-mouth communication on the brand's behalf.

The next study in the B2B Advocacy MultiplierTM series will focus on the telecom sector.

About Advocacy MultiplierTM

Advocacy Multiplier is a contemporary marketing research technique that allows companies to identify the strength of their customer franchise and the power of word-of-mouth communication. Designed to integrate easily with customer management and marketing programs, it enables companies both to determine and manage the customers that matter most to their brand.

Advocacy Multiplier is the most advanced and actionable in a suite of research tools that has been developed by the GfK NOP Customer Management Center of Excellence, one of four specialist teams within GfK NOP that provide information, statistics and consultancy across the full range of marketing disciplines and cycles. The three other Centers of Excellence teams are Market Opportunity, Brand Strategy and Marketing Effectiveness.


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