Brand Sentiment Web users love to talk about tech online. They don’t always love the tech companies they talk about. We asked NetBase, a company that measures customer attitudes toward brands, to figure out which providers elicit the strongest feelings.
NetBase, the creator of the Brand Passion Index, analyzed Web conversations about the 10 largest technology companies by market capitalization, as well as the most highly valued private Internet companies, over a 12-month period. NetBase examined such content tweets on Twitter, posts on Facebook and comments on news stories and product-review sites.
The following slides highlight the 10 most frequently discussed companies, beginning with the ones that elicited the fewest comments. Larger circles denote more comments. Note: Due to rounding, not all the percentages on individual slides add up to 100%.
Cisco Comments: 2,263
Cisco (CSCO), the world's largest maker of networking equipment, got the highest proportion of comments in the Like category, with Web users often commenting favorably about the reliability of its products. It's also the least "disliked" company, according to NetBase's analysis.
LinkedIn Comments: 2,747
LinkedIn users have a lot of nice things to say about the professional networking service, many discussing how they've used it successfully for job hunting and making connections with colleagues. The company also nabbed the lowest percentage of unfavorable comments.
"We strive to always put our members first and to give them the best tools to help them be more productive and successful in their careers," says LinkedIn vice president of marketing Nick Besbeas. "It's heartening to see that people have such an affinity for the LinkedIn brand, but there is always more work to be done, which is why we have a full roadmap of engaging new products and services for 2011."
Oracle Comments: 3,144
Like Cisco, Oracle (ORCL) gets a lot of like on the Web, without stirring up much ill will. One commenter says Oracle's software is "glorious" and helps "me to solve geek riddles every single day."
Intel Comments: 4,967
Few people who write online about Intel (INTC) feel passionate about the world's No. 1 maker of semiconductors, according to NetBase. A high proportion of comments were about the power of Intel's chips, especially compared with those of smaller rival Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).
Hewlett-Packard Comments: 30,256
HP (HPQ) gets a lot of praise on the Web for its laptops and printers. One commenter says HP's printers "perform flawlessly," while another says HP's laptops are "affordable and economical."
Microsoft Comments: 38,533
Microsoft (MSFT), the world's largest maker of software, elicited the second-largest proportion of hate in NetBase's analysis. Many remarks focus on the brand as a whole, rather than homing in on specific products.
Microsoft declined to comment.
Google Comments: 139,532
Google (GOOG) gets talked about a lot on the Web, much of the time in a positive light. Owner of the world's most-used search engine, Google tied with one other company for the highest concentration of Love. Google gets high marks for search, its e-mail service, and the speed of its Chrome Web browser.
Facebook Comments: 177,169
Facebook had the highest proportion of comments categorized by NetBase as "hate." Fans praise its ability to keep them connected with friends. Detractors call it distracting or take issue with feature changes they say are unexpected. Facebook declined to comment.
Twitter Comments: 515,371
Twitter, the microblogging service, tends to be more polarizing than other technology companies, eliciting a lot of love and the third-highest concentration of hate. Twitter's biggest fans give it props for helping them stay connected and get informed. Haters lambaste glitches or call the service a distraction. Twitter declined to comment.
Apple Comments: 540,957
No tech company gets talked about more than Apple (AAPL), maker of the iPhone, iPad tablet, iPod music player, and Macintosh computer. The company often gets praise for the design and usability of its products.
Largest Tech Companies In general, consumers express the most passion about the brands they talk about most. Even when consumers are expressing hatred, it's not necessarily the worst sentiment, says Lisa Joy Rosner, chief marketing officer at NetBase, the company that compiled this index. Instead, it's an opportunity to make changes so that the negative sentiment becomes positive. It's far more difficult, she says, to take consumers who dislike a brand and have no passion for it and to make them fans.