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Samsung, VW, Wells Fargo and Chipotle are brands in buzz crisis

Samsung, VW, Wells Fargo and Chipotle are brands in buzz crisis / Samsung newsroom

It comes as no surprise that the recent news about Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 catching on fire hasn’t been good for the electronics manufacturer. According to the YouGov BrandIndex, which tracks the buzz or net sentiment generated across all media – advertising, news, social, word-of-mouth – Samsung’s rating took a long dive off a sheer cliff.

Samsung’s hasn’t fallen alone recently, however, being joined in its plunge by VW, Wells Fargo and Chipotle. Consumer perception of those brands is way down and, according to a report on the BrandIndex, has Samsung and Wells Fargo facing perhaps the worst crises of their respective existences.

YouGov BrandIndex measured Chipotle, Samsung, Volkswagen and Wells Fargo with its Buzz score metric, a survey to consumers which asked: “If you've heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?” The BrandIndex tracks over 1,500 brands in the US daily, and now tracks data in 32 countries worldwide.

The scores given can range from 100 to -100. It is compiled by subtracting negative feedback from positive. A zero score means equally positive and negative feedback, while a score of 35 means that 35 per cent more people said they were positive than negative about the brand.

Before the recent news of its replacement Note 7 fires and the subsequent call from the company to have users turn in their devices, Samsung had fallen 27 points. That score will no doubt continue to plummet due to the latest news.

Wells Fargo is in a similar freefall after continued reports of creating fake accounts with customers’ names without their consent, which now has been reported by several outlets, including Vice News, Ars Technica and the New York Times, that the practice may have been in place since 2005. The bank’s score dropped 28 points and it continues its trend downwards. Wells Fargo, starting at a relatively low Buzz score (common among banks), is now at -48, a possible inflection point, com -25, compared to Samsung at -8 before the latest recall happened.

Volkswagen and Chipotle have both had their fair share of negative publicity over the last year and are struggling to recover. VW, thanks to its deceptive practices on “clean diesel” and the ensuing lawsuits (which are still in the works in many countries), fell 50 points, hitting bottom in early October last year with a dismal -40 Buzz score. Nearly a year later, they are roughly 12 points below where they were trending before the crisis broke. Currently, they are at a score of roughly -3.

Chipotle, due to its protracted E-Coli outbreak and negative publicity, dropped 40 points over almost four months – longer than any of the other brands in the BrandIndex research. The restaurant chain, which has made several attempts to win back customers and create positive buzz, is currently at -2, trending roughly 12 points below its pre-crisis levels. Chipotle seems to have leveled out, unable to climb any further up the buzz ladder as of recently.