Motorola 'Buzz' Beats Apple, BlackBerry, Likely Thanks to Droid

The Droid smartphone, which has been described as handsome, masculine and industrial, appears to have made Motorola a hit among men. BrandIndex found Motorola's buzz scores to be on the rise, during a period in which Apple's and BlackBerry's fell.

In a recent measure of "buzz" among men 18 and older, Motorola was on the rise, while both Apple and BlackBerry fell, according to data from YouGov's BrandIndex, which interviews 5,000 people each weekday to gauge consumer brand perception on a day-to-day basis.

which The New York Times' David Pogue described as "all masculine, all the time."

BrandIndex scores range from negative 100 to 100, balancing positive feedback against negative; a score of 0, for example, means negative and positive feedback were exactly equal. When the question, "Would you recommend the brand"-in this case Motorola-"to a friend?" was posed to men 18 and older on Oct. 27, Motorola received a score of 24. By Nov. 9 it was nearly at 31, and on Nov. 17, it fell slightly to 30.4.

When the same question was asked of Apple, on Nov. 10, it received a score of 48.1, which by Nov. 19 had fallen to 23.8. Likewise BlackBerry, which received a score of 25.3 on Nov. 10, was down to a 7.7 on Nov. 19.

The promotion of the Droid began on Oct. 18, with an iPhone-bashing Verizon Wireless advertisement that concluded, "Everything iDon't, Droid Does." Soon after, Verizon released a series of holiday-themed ads that compared its 3G coverage map to AT&T's-which sent AT&T hurrying to file a suit, trying to force Verizon to cease airing the ads.

For a look at the Motorola Droid, please click here.

On Nov. 17 Verizon responded, with a 53-page memorandum that stated in its introduction: "AT&T sued because Verizon's ads are true and the truth hurts."

"When AT&T's lawsuit was filed, Verizon Wireless definitely took a swoon in buzz score, but has since recovered well," Drew Kerr, a spokesperson for BrandIndex told eWEEK.

"Motorola's buzz score was not affected by that lawsuit and has been moderately moving upward since the end of October," said Kerr. "This is probably because Verizon Wireless is the subject of the suit and is front and center with the marketing push."

Regarding brand loyalty, said Kerr, "Motorola travels on the higher plane." He said that Verizon's "recommend" score-the measure of brand loyalty-had been slowly dipping over the week of Nov. 15, though this, he said, "may indicate troubles with Verizon's new early termination fees for smartphones, which went from $175 to $350!"

Verizon sold 250,000 Motorola Droids during the smartphone's first week out, and the increase in Motorola's buzz is a fortuitous one for the carrier-particularly in the current quarter.

"With the fourth-quarter key buying season upon us, the carriers are positioning for their most important selling season of the year-both in terms of device lineup and perceptions on network quality and coverage," Susan Welsh de Grimaldo, an analyst with Strategy Analytics, told eWEEK.

"With T-Mobile USA now committed to upgrading its network to 21M-bps theoretical peak download speeds on a fairly broad nationwide level by mid-2010, Verizon Wireless is poised to begin in earnest the deployments of its LTE network, and Sprint, Clearwire and its cable partners launching more markets with WiMAX, AT&T is finding itself in a position where it needs to defend (and promote) its network strengths-particularly as Verizon Wireless has been playing on its strengths of coverage in its ads and now has the Droid in market to compete more directly with the iPhone," Welsh de Grimaldo explained.

The key for Motorola now will be to maintain that buzz-a very fluctuating factor, according to BrandIndex-for another week, when the doors officially fly open on the holiday shopping season.