Michelin still top online brand, but the gap’s narrowing
The French tyre giant has done it again. As in all the previous online brand equity studies produced by Tyres & Accessories in collaboration with online brand research specialists Envisional, the 2011 data once again shows that Michelin has achieved the greatest degree of online prominence. What’s different this year is that the margin has somewhat decreased compared with the identical study we produced in 2010.
The companies occupying the remainder of the top six most-prominent brand slots all come from the same selection as before (namely Michelin, Continental, Pirelli, Bridgestone, Goodyear and Dunlop) but, this time Pirelli rose from sixth place in 2010 to third place in 2011, and Bridgestone dropped from second to fourth place. According to the analysis there was a significant drop in relative prominence between the top six brands and the remainder, amongst which small drops in position were seen for Firestone (dropping below Yokohama) and Falken (dropping below Hankook). Giti achieved the smallest degree of online prominence by a significant margin.
As before the 2011 research saw Envisional analyse the online appearances of 17 major tyre brands, following an identical study carried out in July 2010 and similar studies (looking at only 12 of these brands) carried out in September 2009, October 2008, July 2007, August 2006 and September 2005. As with the 2010 study, this report also includes five up-and-coming mid-range brands produced in the Far East. The analysis Envisional’s Discovery Engine technology to identify and classify mentions of the 17 brands. The system crawled the Internet over a two-day period between 25 and 27 May 2011, during which time the system analysed over 18,000 web pages featuring content related to tyres, and identified mentions of at least one of the monitored brands on just under 10,000 pages.
The company then used its DEX methodology to provide two key measures of the online penetration of, and the sentiment of the references to, these brands.
7th annual online brand equity table shows Pirelli is fastest riser
Chart 1 – DEX Prominence InDEX scores for the 17 brands in 2011, compared with the scores for the brands (where available) from 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006 and 2005
Chart 2 – DEX Sentiment InDEX scores for the 17 brands in 2011, and the sentiment rankings for the brands (where available) from the 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006 and 2005 studies
Online brand prominence: Michelin still top
The 2011 data shows that Michelin was the most prominent surveyed, the seventh year in a row that Bibendum has taken the virtual top slot. However, the bad news for Michelin is that not only has its lead narrowed, but at 2.61 this year’s result was the lowest winning score we have recorded in seven years. The gap between first and second place has shrunk considerably from last year when there was 0.84 separating Michelin and Bridgestone and there is now less than half that (0.37) between the top two places (see table for more).
Outside the leading pack, there are also signs that the up and coming manufacturers are gaining ground on the second line brands of the global leaders. While they are all progressing from low bases, Korean manufacturers Nexen and Hankook showed relative strong growth.
According to Envisional, the DEX Prominence InDEX figure we refer to here is more than just a count of web page appearances. It combines the following statistics within a unique algorithm: the number of web pages and hosts which feature each brand; the prominence of the mention of the brand within the page; the brand ‘concentration’ on each host; and total Internet coverage of all brands under consideration.
Online brand sentiment: Pirelli up, Goodyear down
Michelin was once again top according to this measure and elsewhere at the top of the pack things were relatively static. However the evidence of emerging brands gaining ground is perhaps clearer according to this metric than in the prominence count. This year Hankook, for example scored 9.91, which saw the jump up to 10th place overall from 13th place last year. Firestone however 8.53, putting it in 13th, three places behind Hankook and two places shy of the result it attained last year.
The overall analysis shows that the mentions of all 17 brands were much more positive than negative, on average, with all brands achieving positive Sentiment InDEX scores overall.
As we alluded to earlier, the top six most positively-referenced brands remain the same as identified in all previous studies, and in the same order as for the 2010 study. Apart from the Hankook and Firestone changes, none of the other brands in the study changed their sentiment-ranking position by more than one place, compared with the 2010 study.
For each page on which a mention of a brand is identified, a sentiment score for that brand is calculated. The DEX Sentiment InDEX score can be separated into positive and negative components, as shown in the chart; the overall score is the difference between the positive and negative scores.