Michelin is Leading Online Tyre Brand in 2008
Michelin is once again the leading tyre brand on the internet, according to research conducted by online analysts Envisional. The unique online brand ranking exercise, which has been published exclusively in association with Tyres & Accessories since 2005, also found that Pirelli was the biggest faller and that the gap between premium and following brands is widening. The Michelin brand retains the top spot from the 2007 report and has performed strongly online since the first tyre branding analysis in 2005 when it came third. The 2008 report shows the French manufacturer’s strongly positive ‘sentiment’ score kept it right out in front this year, though Dunlop (climbing from third to second) and the strongly improving Goodyear (up from sixth to third) also turned in good performances. Bridgestone will not be so happy, having lost ground a little and dropped down the sentiment rankings from second to fourth place.
Envisional’s head of marketing, Ian Shircore pointed out that shifts in internet usage are likely to have an ongoing effect on online tyre branding: “As the nature of online sentiment shifts, with an increasing amount of user-generated content appearing alongside the more traditional comment and reviews on media and commercial websites, the leading brands have done well to maintain their positive buzz.” While the top six tyre brands in the online sentiment tables have long been well clear of their rivals, the gap between Pirelli (2008: 6th; 2007: 5th), the back marker in the leading group, and Yokohama (2008: 7th; 2007 8th), the best of the rest, has widened considerably in 2008. Envisional used its Discovery Eye technology to identify and classify mentions of the 12 surveyed brands.
The system crawled the Internet over a seven-day period in early October 2008 and classified over 9,400 relevant web, blog and forum pages. The Envisional analysis measures two key indicators of online brand equity – prominence and sentiment. Prominence can perhaps best be described as exposure. In addition to exposure Envisional’s sentiment index uses high tech artificial intelligence technology to measure the value of the various mentions each brand gets online. Basically, the negative remarks are subtracted from positive comments, generating an overall ‘sentiment’ score. Envisional was formed in Cambridge, UK, in 1999 by two brilliant young British scientists, Chris Swannack and Ben Coppin, who were already working at the leading edge of advanced artificial intelligence applications. The company now has 30 staff and a worldwide customer list of corporate leaders. Its unique A3I Internet monitoring technology is patented and Envisional has reportedly developed close business partnerships with several major US technology firms.