We’ve played word association games before. What’s the first word that comes to mind when I mention, say, Coca Cola? Is it positive or negative? A new study in the US has played this game for the biggest tech companies today. Here are the results.
The study comes courtesy of Signs.com. They took the top 15 from Forbes’ Most Powerful Brand List, and showed participants the logos, most of which are instantly recognizable, and asked them to provide the word that best described their emotions. It's the classic word association game.
Here are the most popular responses for some of the biggest players in the tech industry today.
One of the most instantly recognizable logos, and one of the most valuable brands in the world. Sure, Jobs, Wozniak, and Wayne knicked the branding off the Beatles, but you can’t argue that they don’t own it today.
The most common positive sentiment towards Apple was innovative, whilst the most common negative sentiment was a tie between horrible and snobby. Other top words associated with the brand were expensive and quality.
The second of the Big Four tech companies polled, Google, resulted in juxtaposed emotions. Google services are almost impossible to live without, but security and privacy concerns have clearly affected how the general public views the company as a whole.
The most common positive sentiment towards Google was best, whilst the most common negative sentiment was evil. Other top words associated with the brand were useful and fast.
Another polarizing brand. Emotional connections to Facebook seem to divide generations. There is a younger demographic that views the company as lame, that is for sure, it’s the social network their parents use, and that’s never cool. But it remains a positive brand for millions of people around the world.
The most common positive sentiment towards Facebook was social, whilst the most common negative sentiment was annoying. Other top words associated with the brand were popular and family.
The biggest e-commerce brand in the world and a goliath of all things shopping, Amazon, divides emotion in an interesting way. Amazon feels like one of those guilty conveniences that we all use because, well, it’s convenient, but know that there are moral and business practice issues bubbling under the surface.
The most common positive sentiment towards Amazon was easy, whilst the most common negative sentiment was greedy. Other top words associated with the brand were cheap and convenient.
Anyone who has used a laptop, PC, or Apple computer has come into contact with Intel, but what kind of emotion does the brand trigger for the general public?
The most common positive sentiment towards Intel was innovative, whilst the most common negative sentiment was boring. Other top words associated with the brand were fast and ‘computer’....
And some responses from our Editors
The Signs survey produced some interesting results, but it only asked 779 people, and with that many participants, you’d be foolish to think this is a representative sample. Respondent genders were split equally, with 50 percent of participants being women and 50 percent being men. Ages ranged from 18 to 81, and the average age was 37. The standard deviation was 11.
However, I asked around our editorial office in Berlin for some responses from people a little more invested in these topics, after all, we write about them for a living. Here are some of the responses I got.
Regular readers of our English language domain will know Nicholas Montegriffo. He took the Big Four and offered these one-word responses: Amazon - boxes, Facebook - stress, Google - everywhere, Apple - pretentious.
From AP France, Benoit Pepicq offered an extensive list of some of the biggest and most popular tech companies in the world today. The harshest of which was reserved for Facebook: “Apocalyptic knight, because I think the social network is destroying society.” He also finds Microsoft “lame” because it could be much bigger if it hadn't made the mistakes it did 15 years ago.
My favorite from Ben, however, was for Apple - ‘plastic gold coin’, drawing on the idea that Apple products shine and are awed over, but don’t necessarily represent quality.
From AP Germany, Steffen Herget offered a more sentimental, nostalgia-driven list of responses. He feels the same emotional response towards four companies, HTC, LG, Sony and Nokia, which remind him of ‘the good old days’. We miss them, too, Steffen!
From AP Italy, I chased down Luca Zaninello. Luca offered answers for a couple of left-field tech companies that were not on the Forbes list. The funniest of which I thought was for TikTok - ‘weird’ - and he’s young enough to get it!
Finally, I went to the man at the top of the pile, Shu On Kwok. Our boss offered a couple of interesting emotional responses, starting with Epic Games - ‘$$$$’. He also thought that Microsoft represents more than just Windows, that Slack emotes the idea of ‘always on working’ and that smartphones will not be a word he associates with HTC in the future.
What are your emotional responses to the biggest tech companies around today? Leave your one-word emotional responses in the comments section below.