Tech Brands Face A Gender Divide

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Every other TV commercial may be for a dot-com company these days, but few technology brands get high marks from online consumers. A new study by Landor Associates, a global branding consultancy in San Francisco, asked Internet users to rate 250 technology brands on four measures: distinctiveness (brands that stand out among the rest); appropriateness (how well brands fit consumer needs); share of heart (brands that have an emotional connection with consumers); and share of mind (brands most on consumers' minds). The usual suspects, including Microsoft, Intel, Netscape, and AT&T, topped the overall ranking, but not even one of these power brands scored a perfect 100. Microsoft Windows, with a score of 83, had the best showing. "A lot of brands still have a way to go," says David Redhill, Landor's director of global communications. "Once a brand is on the radar screen, then it can work on building other values that count, like share of heart."

Men certainly have plenty of opinions about tech brands. Of the 250 brands tested, 174 were rated higher by men than women. In particular, office- and business-related brands such as Western Digital, AMD, and 3Com resonated more with men than women. Chip manufacturer AMD had the greatest gender disparity: Male online consumers gave it an overall score of 39, while women settled with a score of 13. Of course, both of these scores are pretty low when compared to those of heavy hitters like Yahoo. Still, Redhill says, it illustrates the differences in what men and women know about certain kinds of technologies. "With AMD, for instance, you have to be pretty interested and appreciative of their products to even have an opinion of it. Women tend to rate brands like this one very low because they're not familiar with them."

Only a handful on the list - mostly what Landor calls "softer" technology brands - had stronger connections with women than men. Greeting card site Blue Mountain Arts, Disney, and Women.com were among the winners. But when it comes to picking power brands, there's little argument between the genders over which ones dominate. "The better known a brand becomes, its brand equity and message is perceived consistently by both men and women," Redhill says.

For more information about the Landor ImagePower Study, contact David Redhill at (415) 365-4414 or visit www.landor.com.

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