Buzz counts when firms measure the digital presence of a brand across the Web. Media research company General Sentiment turns online brand buzz, conversation and content through its proprietary processor to come up with a dollar value for online chatter. The result, Impact Media Value (IMV), basically treats all news as a positive, or at least as a "plus" in the cash register with an "any news is good news" ethos. If so, the news is good for tech companies, which dominated online talk in the third quarter this year.
Google took first place in the firm's third-quarter “Global Brands Report” for having the highest overall IMV, which General Sentiment pegged at $917 million. Second place went to Apple, followed by Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Yahoo, Samsung, Sony, Intel and Oracle. From tenth to thirteenth place in value were Disney, Honda, Toyota and Mercedes-Benz.
The firm says Apple fell farther behind Google versus the second quarter, and HP and Yahoo moved to the fourth and fifth positions. Both companies were in flux as a result of CEO firings in September. Hewlett-Packard eliminated its tablet division and indicated that it would be willing to sell off its PC unit. The company also replaced CEO Leo Apotheker with former eBay CEO Meg Whitman and thus saw a lift in buzz.
Yahoo jettisoned CEO Carol Bartz in September and introduced a mobile application for Android and new features to its Flickr photo-sharing service.
General Sentiment says Apple’s IMV ($753,123) fell 16% from last quarter, partly because it did not have any hit products. Microsoft ($372,970) saw its online impact drop in Q3 because the company got little media coverage. The company revealed its revamped Windows operating system in September, emphasizing its compatibility with mobile devices, but the announcement generated much less buzz than it would if it had come from Google or Apple, notes the firm.
General Sentiment CEO Greg Artzt said in the report that while Google expanded with key acquisitions this year, Yahoo (which had a $212,592 IMV in Q3) and Hewlett-Packard (with an IMV of $258,181) fired their CEOs this quarter "and are struggling to compete."
Google acquired Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion in August, and Zagat less than a month after that. General Sentiment says the growth of Google’s Facebook competitor, Google +, also generated significant social media buzz for the company.
Further down, Disney’s theme parks, Pixar and The Lion King, helped the company's buzz. “Cars 2” came out in June and a 3D version of “The Lion King” in September. The company also announced it would build a theme park in its Animal Kingdom based on its Avatar property.
Despite snafus with PlayStation security, Sony was the top brand in a parameter called Perception Media Value, which the firm derives by ignoring neutral messages while giving a positive value to positive mentions and a negative value to negative mentions. Thus, Sony had the highest ratio of positive versus negative mentions, per the firm. Allianz, Danone, Samsung, Nike, Dell, Kleenex, Avon, Hewlett-Packard, Johnnie Walker rounded out the Top 10.
On the bottom of the perception media value list were Panasonic, UBS, Nescafe, Goldman Sachs, Colgate, Microsoft, L'Oreal, Heinz, Credit Suisse, and Thomson Reuters. While the financial companies' presence on the bottom of the list should not be too surprising, L'Oreal might be to some, but the company had unwanted coverage for having to pull ads in the UK, featuring Christy Turlington and Julia Roberts, that the country's Advertising Standards Authority said were misleading because the models had been Photoshopped drastically.