BlackBerry User Satisfaction on Rise, as iPhone, Droid Skirmish

As consumer awareness of AT&T's and Verizon's presence in the news has increased, so has consumer satisfaction with the BlackBerry brand, says daily surveyor BrandIndex. Since the summer, BlackBerry satisfaction scores have doubled.

Were the AT&T versus Verizon network-map skirmishes a perk for Research In Motion's BlackBerry brand?
Dec. 9 data from BrandIndex shows that consumers are increasingly aware of Verizon and AT&T in the news, while simultaneously their satisfaction levels with RIM's BlackBerry brand is improving. RIM was hardly sitting back and enjoying the boost, however-during the surveyed time period, it also released new handsets, including the BlackBerry Bold 9700.
BrandIndex collects feedback from 5,000 U.S. adults each weekday, which it tallies on a scale of negative 100 to 100, with zero representing a perfect balance of positive and negative feedback; it claims its accuracy is plus or minus 2 percent.
"They say a rising tide lifts all boats, but in the ad world, it works especially well when two rival wireless carriers launch blistering ad campaigns and file lawsuits," BrandIndex spokesperson Drew Kerr wrote to eWEEK. "Those ad dollars have fueled increasing young-adult mindshare for both brands, with Verizon Wireless' attention score passing by AT&T the last week of November."
On Nov. 2, 37.1 percent of 18-to 34-year-olds said they had heard something about the Verizon Wireless brand over the past two weeks-a number that rose to 62.2 percent by Dec 7. During the same period, the number of young adults who had heard news about AT&T rose from 41.2 percent to 54.5.
On Dec. 2, AT&T and Verizon dropped the lawsuits each had filed against the other. The suits began Nov. 3, when AT&T filed against Verizon, alleging that the AT&T 3G coverage map included in Verizon's commercials was potentially misleading. Around the same time, Verizon began airing ads for the Motorola Droid, exclusive to its network, that promote it as having everything the iPhone, on AT&T's network, doesn't.
"While a very public campaign war between Motorola's Droid and Apple's iPhone continues to wage on through the holiday season, RIM has quietly improved the customer experience with their BlackBerry smartphones," Kerr wrote. "BlackBerry's satisfaction scores have doubled since the summer to a 2009 year-to-date high, with a more recent 3 point gain since November."
BlackBerry's BrandIndex score at the start of 2009-with BrandIndex asking consumers, "Are you a satisfied or dissatisfied customer of the brand?"-was 7.25 percent. By July that number was over 10 percent, and on Dec. 8, it was 13 percent.
The BlackBerry Bold 9700 arrived in November on the AT&T and T-Mobile networks and has been called RIM's best BlackBerry to date. BrandIndex finds RIM to be doing well on its own merit, but never far from the influence of its competitors.
"New product releases such as the BlackBerry Storm 2 and BlackBerry Bold 9700 have improved the user experience, and the reviewers have noticed," Kerr wrote. "Droid vs. iPhone marketing blitzes have affected some of BlackBerry's other consumer measures, though overall brand-health-level scores remain within their normal 2009 range."
Verizon also offers several BlackBerry handsets, including the Tour, the Curve and the Storm2.