While several marketing gurus hail Apple as an iconic brand across domains, Microsoft came out on top in a brand survey conducted by Forrester Research. Microsoft emerged as the winner, with Apple in second, Sony in third, and Samsung in fourth place.
The results are based on a brand survey where more than 4,500 U.S. adults were polled in August 2013. Forrester applied its TRUE methodology - which it uses to measure brand strength in several vertical markets - to 10 consumer technology firms it selected, including Microsoft, Apple, Sony, Samsung, Hewlett-Packard, and Dell.
Forrester argues that the One Microsoft unified branding strategy of Microsoft has resonated with American consumers and the result is because of Microsoft's ubiquity in consumers' lives and its cross-generational appeal.
"It's too early to say if 'One Microsoft' is a success, but [Microsoft] is headed in the right direction. They haven't had a consistent experience across the brand before. Microsoft's performance coincides with a shift from an individual product marketing approach to the seamless 'One Microsoft' communications and user experience.”
- Tracy Stokes, Forrester Research
Microsoft’s showing majorly depended on its unbeatable score in the ‘Essentials’ category, one of four used in Forrester's calculations, and its high trust ranking across all age groups.
For most consumers, Microsoft is ubiquitous with no alternative to Windows and Office, and hence a utilitarian essentiality. Apple, with its emotional hold, and Samsung scored just as highly as did Microsoft in three of the four categories, but fell behind in Essentials. Microsoft also won out in the demographic battle with consistently high brand rankings across every age group. Meanwhile, companies like Apple and Samsung scored best in younger age groups, notably with millennial, those aged 25 to 33.
While the drive toward a singular, coherent brand helped Microsoft, Apple’s second-place finish can be attributed in part to its struggles over the last 18 months, including a drop in stock price and criticism that it had dulled its innovation edge.