Honda, Hyundai, Kia Are Winners in Word-of-Mouth Buzz | Edmunds

Honda, Hyundai, Kia Are Winners in Word-of-Mouth Buzz


Just the Facts:
  • Honda, Hyundai and Kia are the automotive brands that get the best word-of-mouth recommendations in the U.S., according to the new Brand Advocacy index.
  • The Brand Advocacy index was created by Boston Consulting Group to measure how brands perform through personal recommendations.
  • The score of 63 percent achieved by Honda, Hyundai and Kia outpaced the average automotive brand rating of 50 percent.

BOSTON — Honda, Hyundai and Kia are the automotive brands that get the best word-of-mouth recommendations in the U.S., according to the new Brand Advocacy index.

The index, created by global management consulting firm Boston Consulting Group, is a strategic metric that gauges personal recommendations by establishing a direct correlation with top-line growth. And, unlike some other attempts to measure brand advocacy, BCG says it asked what people have actually done to advocate for or against a brand, rather than just asking what they thought.

To build its inaugural 2013 index, BCG surveyed more than 32,000 consumers in Europe and the U.S. about more than 300 brands in 12 industries, including banking, telecommunications, groceries and smartphones, in addition to automotive. Only the top 55 brands were selected for a place on the index.

Honda, Hyundai and Kia each scored a rating of 63 percent on the Brand Advocacy index, making them the most recommended automotive brands in the U.S. Meanwhile, Volkswagen and Toyota topped the industry globally, each achieving a score of 65 percent. The average rating for all automotive brands was 50 percent.

Interestingly, of all industries surveyed, automobiles had the highest level of total "positive advocacy," followed closely by smartphones, indicating a high degree of enthusiasm on the part of consumers when it comes to sharing information about these products.

According to the BCG report, "positive advocacy tends to be higher in industries whose products or services evoke consumers' greater emotional involvement." As a result, "people are much more likely to have conversations with friends and colleagues about a car, a prominent purchase on which they spend a large percentage of their income and, in many cases, a lot of time researching."

On the other side of the coin, the Brand Advocacy index also measures what it calls "negative advocacy," or what might be known as bad-mouthing. BCG notes that this type of communication tends to be higher in services industries, which often have "more difficulty maintaining a consistent customer experience" than product-oriented brands.

BCG found that the automotive and smartphone industries "had many fewer people" providing negative advocacy than the other industries studied.

Edmunds says: Car shoppers don't need a study to tell them that the smart ones still rely heavily on word of mouth.

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