Thursday, May 21, 2015

TV and "Brand Affinity"

Colleague Michael Castengera pointed this out, a big survey on "brand affinity" (more on this in a moment) and television news. You can see one version here (a somewhat more full PR release here). Below, one lede:
A study of news “brand affinity” finds the broadcast networks aren’t quite the fading giants many perceive them to be. The survey, by SmithGeiger on behalf of the National Association of Broadcasters, found broadcasters outperforming both digital and cable news brands.
Okay, a few comments. First, always look twice or three times or even more at a survey that just happens to find results that fall in line with the folks who paid for the survey. Oddly, the National Association of Broadcasters, best I can tell, don't mention this study on its site, even in the "newsroom" portion. Maybe their slow to get it up. It happens.

Second, what the hell is "brand affinity?" I asked Google.  One answer was:
Definition: Brand affinity is a metric that lets market researchers make predictions about how a consumer will behave. Brand affinity also adds a layer of information that is helpful when differentiating among consumers in order to accomplish market segmentation.
Which is about as bad a definition as one could hope to find. Circular, without being a circle. Another site described it as, well, really doesn't define it. Affinity is essentially liking, or affect (if you're into psychology). So how much you like a brand. Let's go with that and move on to the study itself. There's a bit of methodology, repeated below, as well as a graphic:
Polling more than 3,300 new consumers between the ages of 18 and 64, SmithGeiger compared the brand affinity of 22 broadcast, cable, and digital brands, including ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox local affiliates, Google, Facebook, Twitter, CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC.

Okay, about that graf above -- new consumers? I assume it meant news consumers, because it's hard to imagine a new 64-year-old consumer. How were they polled? Phone survey? God-awful robo-poll? Online? How did this sample match population parameters and, if not, were the data weighted? How were the questions written, how were they ordered? How was any of this damn survey conducted?

The results themselves you can see for yourself by reading the PR release. People like TV. No surprise there, for TV is very likable. Why its compared to a search engine (Google) and a couple of social media outlets (Twitter and Facebook), I'm not entirely clear on, but otherwise the results aren't really that surprising.

Especially when broadcasters paid the bill.

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