Keep raising prices, watch your public perception plummet – that’s the word from the latest Harris Poll on consumer sentiment about various business categories. Only one media category is tracked, and as usual, it occupies one of the lower rungs on the ladder – and yes, it’s the cable business.
Supermarkets have a sweet 90% favorable rating, and a +80 plus/minus differential. Hospitals, computer companies and services, packaged food and carmakers are all among the higher-ranked business categories.
Oil companies sit on the bottom with an abysmal -31 plus/minus rating, and crawling down there in the bad-PR muck ahead of oil are tobacco, HMO, and health insurance – all in negative territory.
Investment/brokerage companies and airlines managed single-digit positive ratings and cable is next at +11, with 54% satisfied and 43% dissatisfied with the sector.
Harris highlighted some long term trends dating back to the poll’s inception in 1997:
* A 55 point drop, from plus 24 to minus 31, for oil companies;
* A 43 point drop, from plus 60 to plus 17, for pharmaceutical companies;
* A 37 point drop, from plus 61 to plus 24, for telephone companies;
* A 31 point drop, from plus 52 to plus 21, for banks;
* A 26 point drop, from plus 13 to minus 13, for managed care companies; and,
* A 22 point drop, from plus 13 to minus 9, for health insurance companies.
Harris offered its own analysis of the long-term results. It said, “Several important conclusions can be reached from these findings. There are huge differences between the reputations of different industries, some of which are widely liked and respected and some of which are very unpopular. Events, as well as the services that they provide, can have a huge impact on how people feel about different industries, as shown by the roller coaster ups and downs of many of these industries over the last 14 years. During these years public attitudes to the auto, pharmaceutical, health insurance, telephone, banking, financial services and oil industries have moved up and down in response to events and, no doubt, by the media coverage of those events. Politicians may draw another set of conclusions, that it is not a good thing to be seen as supporters of very unpopular industries, and that there may be votes to be won by Democrats if they can label their Republican opponents as being too close to “big oil” or the health insurance industry.”
RBR-TVBR observation: There are two ways to use this list to sell, and we’re thinking of the kind of imaging ads that are a staple on the Sunday morning talk shows.
For the trade associations and leading companies represented on the happy topside of the list, it’s time to buy some bragging time while the public is receptive.
For the trade associations and leading companies dwelling in the cellar, perhaps its time to due some reputation rehabilitation – your business can’t possibly be as bad as people think it is, right?
In either case, there are local and national broadcast outlets that will be perfectly happy to offer you ample time, at a reasonable price, so that you can make your case.
|Category||Good Job||Bad Job||Not sure||Plus/minus||Chng since 09|
|Internet service providers||71||21||8||50||5|
|Online social media||56||26||19||30||n/a|
|Source: Harris Poll|