Firm: Tech Companies Among Most Talked-About

Ipad

Not all news is good news, but any news is better than none. That, within reason, is a central tenet of media-measurement firm General Sentiment, whose second-quarter Media Value Report takes a look at which brands are benefiting -- or not -- from online conversations and news mentions. The report promulgates a dollar value for buzz, content and conversation.

The firm derives its "Purchase Equivalent" dollar value of a brand's exposure from sentiment, frequency from news mentions and social dialogue. But it also differentiates between sheer volume and quality of talk: "Impact Value" assumes that all mentions are positive; "Perception Value" assigns positive value to positive mentions and negative value to the opposite thereof. That's why BP, for example, is big in both lists.

In the firm's second-quarter report, much of the conversation was centered on tech companies, with Apple the most talked-about brand in General Sentiment's study. In second place was BP, followed by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Sony, Intel, Hewlett-Packard, Ford and eBay.

Google had been the number one brand in impact value: General Sentiment pegged the value of Apple's buzz at over $1 billion this quarter, generated by the iPhone 4 and the iPad. Needless to say, BP's buzz was entirely negative. Although Google fell to number three, it overtook Apple as a software provider for its Android platform in smartphones.

The firm says the buzz around Apple was "unprecedented by General Sentiment's measurement metrics." The firm says buzz for Apple on Twitter alone generated over $62 million of media value.

Ford was the only automaker in the top ten. Its financial performance and sales generated, per General Sentiment, amounted to $96 million worth of brand value in news media coverage. The company's decision to kill Mercury generated more social media conversation.

The company also has a top ten list for perception value, which measures a brand on the quality of exposure. Polo Ralph Lauren was first, followed by Danone, Heinz, Starbucks, L'Oreal, Puma, Nokia, AXA, Lancome and Lexus. The ten biggest losers in perception value are BP, Adobe, Honda, Smirnoff, Armani, Goldman Sachs, Coca-Cola, Allianz, and Xerox.

General Sentiment says Adobe made the list because Apple is not supporting its Flash platform; Honda because of recalls of Odyssey minivans and Element crossover due to braking problems; Smirnoff due to associations with "Bros Icing Bros," a binge-drinking game that Smirnoff denies connections to; Goldman Sachs for its role in, among other things, marching Greece's economy into the Aegean sea.

Gregory Artzt, CEO of the Long Island, N.Y.-based company, said the positive and negative moves are relative versus the first quarter. Thus, while one might have expected Toyota -- with its recall issues -- to be on the negative balance, the brand's mentions and buzz are somewhat better this quarter versus last. "So, Toyota actually improved from the first quarter," he says.

"I think they probably turned positive and certainly improved from earlier this year, so this isn't a 'bottom ten' report." Toyota's Lexus brand saw a modest gain this quarter versus last. Adobe, still generating net positive buzz online to the tune -- per Artzt -- of $13 million, is down versus last quarter, vis à vis positive conversations and news.

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