Market research group Forrester Research has published a new report examining the trust and perceived potential for various major name PC and consumer brands and companies, including Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft.
Of the three console manufacturers, Sony ranked the highest and the third overall out of all twenty-two companies involved in the research, with an overall grade of "A plus". The highest ranked companies were Bose and Dell, which also earned "A plus" grades.
Nintendo's brand earned a "B" grade, placing it at seventeen out of twenty-two amidst a number of other middle ranking companies. Along with Apple it's performance in the ranking was affected primarily by its relatively low grade for "brand potential".
Microsoft earned only a "C" grade, and was ranked twentieth out of the twenty-two companies, although this ranking was based on the overall Microsoft brand and not the Xbox specifically. Indeed the company has been careful to keep associations between the two brands to a relative minimum, presumably for exactly these reasons.
Quotes taken from the study state that: "Microsoft faces big consumer defection risk. One measure of consumers' dissatisfaction with Microsoft is seen in the 5.4 million households that give it a brand trust score of 1 [distrust a lot] or 2 [distrust a bit]. Compared with all Microsoft users, these at-risk users have higher income, are much more likely to be male, and are bigger online spenders. These households know they run Microsoft software but would be just as happy to leave it behind -- if they could."
By comparison the report describes Sony's current customers as "affluent, young, and more likely than the general population to stick with a brand they like". It also notes that "Sony's prospects have a different profile: poorer than the general population, less brand loyal, and more likely to buy on price. To reach these 9.8 million households, Sony will have to tailor its marketing messages and retail presence to compete on price."