J.D. Power and Associates Reports:
Toyota, General Motors and Honda Capture the Largest Share of Positive Blogger Discussions Regarding Eco-Friendly Automotive Brands
J.D. Power and Associates Web Intelligence Division Unveils Findings of Inaugural
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: 23 September 2008 — Based on analysis of 40 million blog posts collected during the past six months, Toyota, General Motors and Honda are the topics of a large amount of spontaneous consumer online discussions regarding environmental sustainability—and have a higher-than-average number of positive mentions, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 Environmental Sustainability Report released today.
J.D. Power and Associates Web Intelligence Division (formerly Umbria, Inc.), which specializes in blog research and consumer generated media for market insight, has released its first comprehensive look at consumer conversations about environmental sustainability, global warming, purchase trends and user demographics, which are captured from online blogosphere conversations. The report is designed to provide automotive industry executives with ongoing measures of the extent of consumer engagement around the topic of sustainability, and how that engagement is influencing the buying habits and preferences of their customers and other consumers within their targeted demographics.
The inaugural report details discussions about the sustainability topic in general and also classifies brands based on both volume (measured by the number of new mentions per week, on average) and percentage of positive mentions. Brands that are discussed are then categorized into one of four quadrants: pacesetters (having higher-than-average volume and higher–than-average positive sentiment); contenders (lower-than-average volume but higher positive sentiment); emerging (higher-than-average volume but lower positive sentiment); or challenged (lower-than-average volume and low positive sentiment). Those brands that receive less than 1 percent of the total number of automotive online social media mentions are designated as dormant in online discussions of sustainability.
General Motors, Honda and Toyota emerge as pacesetters and score in the top quadrant for both volume and the percentage of positive mentions. Toyota leads General Motors in the total volume of posts, accounting for 14 percent of all posts regarding automotive brands and sustainability. General Motors is a close second in post volume, representing 11 percent of all posts. However, General Motors received a higher percentage of positive mentions between January and June 2008—49 percent, compared with 46 percent for Toyota. In contrast, Honda’s rate of positive mentions is 53 percent, but the brand receives a lower volume of mentions than the other two brands in the pacesetter quadrant—7 percent, which is half as much as Toyota.
Nissan outscores all other automotive brands in the percentage of positive discussion with 56 percent, but receives a lower overall volume than the brands in the pacesetter group, just 2 percent, which places the brand in the contender quadrant. Ford also accounts for considerable volume of discussion (8%) but has fewer positive mentions than many other brands, with less than half of all comments being positive in nature (43%).
“It is not unexpected that Toyota is mentioned frequently in the blogosphere by environmentally conscious consumers due to the success and popularity of the Prius,” said Chance Parker, vice president and general manager of the Web Intelligence Division at J.D. Power and Associates. “What might be more surprising to some is the strong showing that GM has made within the blogging community that is concerned with environmental sustainability. All of the effort that GM has made to market its hybrid vehicles and future powertrains—such as the electric technology that will be featured in the Volt—appears to be resonating with consumers.”
“Sustainability and consumer efforts to curb their eco-footprint are making headlines in almost every industry, from automotive and energy, to grocers and big-box retailers,” said Janet Eden-Harris, vice president of the Web Intelligence Division at J.D. Power and Associates. “Blogosphere conversations about environmental sustainability have been growing dramatically during the past 18 months, indicating that this issue has hit the consumer mainstream, and is starting to impact consumer perceptions of the brands they buy.”
According to the report, the environmental sustainability topics most frequently discussed by bloggers are:
- News and sources of information about eco-sustainability
- Various sustainable products
- Impact of sustainability efforts on natural resources
- Causes of environmental problems
- Effects of eco-sustainability efforts
- Solutions to environmental problems
“Based on the topics that generate the most buzz among environmentally conscious bloggers, it’s clear that consumers are actively seeking out information and looking for products that will help them reduce their eco-footprints,” said Eden-Harris.
The report findings also include the following insights:
- Overall, the majority of conversations surrounding automotive brands and environmental sustainability were either positive or neutral in sentiment—very few were negative.
- More than 320,000 spontaneous conversations about environmental sustainability, global warming, conscious consumerism and related topics were found among English-language posts in the public blogosphere between March and August 2008.
- The overall volume of online discussion regarding sustainability issues has increased considerably during the past 18 months. Discussion volumes increased by 160 percent during 2007, and another 250 percent during the first six months of 2008.
The J.D. Power and Associates Web Intelligence Division is unique in its ability to assess both what is being said, and who is doing the speaking in the online world. Its patent-pending technology enables the classification of posts and ability to estimate gender and age of the speaker, as well as rapid identification and elimination of spam posts. The Web Intelligence Division analyzes voices of the online community by using proprietary Natural Language Processing and machine learning algorithms to dissect the who, what and why of online opinion, offering in-depth insights for some of the world’s leading brands. For more information about environmental sustainability industry trends, visit http://www.jdpower.com/corporate.About J.D. Power and Associates
Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services firm operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, performance improvement, training and customer satisfaction. The firm’s quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. For more information on boat ratings, car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit JDPower.com. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.
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